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Meddle-Proofing America's Elections

President Donald Trump makes a statement as Russia's President Vladimir Putin listens ahead a meeting in Helsinki, on July 16. -
President Donald Trump makes a statement as Russia's President Vladimir Putin listens ahead a meeting in Helsinki, on July 16. -

When Russian President Vladimir Putin again asserted that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election, President Trump did not push back.

During a press conference after a meeting between the two leaders in Helsinki, Finland, Putin said through an interpreter: “The Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere into internal American affairs, including election process.”

Per NPR’s Scott Horsley and Miles Parks:

U.S. intelligence officials are in agreement that Russia interfered in the 2016 election using a wide array of methods, including but not limited to hacking the Democratic National Committee’s emails, breaking into American voting infrastructure and launching a sprawling misinformation campaign.

Trump noted Putin’s “strong and powerful” denials. During the conference, he attacked some of his usual targets, including Democrats and Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller.

The press conference drew swift condemnation from outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan and former CIA director John Brennan, and other high profile members of the president’s own party.

— Hallie Jackson (@HallieJackson) July 16, 2018

The Helsinki summit happened in the wake of 12 indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers by Mueller, who alleges that they were involved in the hacking of the DNC.

As Vox explains:

Mueller alleges that, as long suspected, it was in fact Russian intelligence officers behind the high-profile hackings of emails and documents from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and various Hillary Clinton campaign staffers, including campaign chair John Podesta.

Many of these emails and documents were posted during the 2016 campaign by three separate entities. Two of those — “Guccifer 2.0,” and the DCLeaks website” — were created and controlled by these GRU officers from Russia’s intelligence agency, Mueller alleges. The third, WikiLeaks, got the stolen DNC emails from these GRU officials (and, eventually, the Podesta emails), but isn’t being charged with anything — it is referred to as “Organization 1” in the indictment.

What do the indictments mean? And how can America’s election process be protected from foreign influences in the future?


Dov Levin, Post doctoral fellow at the Institute for Politics and Strategy, Carnegie-Mellon University

Max Bergmann, Senior fellow, the Center For American Progress, with a focus on European security and US and Russian relations; he served in the State Department from 2011 to 2017

Shane Harris, Intelligence and national security reporter, The Washington Post; Future of War fellow, New America; author, “At War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex” and “The Watchers: The Rise of America’s Surveillance State”‘; @shaneharris

Julia Ioffe, Reporter, GQ; @juliaioffe

For more, visit https://the1a.org.

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