After a string of resignations from Donald Trump’s team over their ties with Russia, both the US House and Senate continue to investigate alleged Russian hacking apparently aimed at getting Trump elected. On Thursday, Trump’s former aide Michael Flynn, who was the first to step down, reportedly asked for immunity if he testifies. Meanwhile the Senate Intelligence Committee’s ranking Democrat – Mark Warner, directly accused Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin, of launching a campaign of “propaganda on steroids.”
He also claimed: “Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ordered a deliberate campaign carefully constructed to undermine our election”.
Senior fellow for the Foreign Policy Research Institute Program on National security-Clinton Watts, seconded Warner’s view, when he announced:
“The Kremlin can crumble democracies from the inside out, achieving two key milestones; one, the dissolution of the European Union and two, the break-up of NATO.”
While lawmakers warned that Russian hacking may have influenced last year’s Brexit vote in Britain and suggested further interference to come in the French and German elections, Putin shrugged off his accusers with a joke.
When asked if any evidence would be found of Russian involvement, he told an audience at an arctic summit:
“(Ronald) Reagan debating, I think about taxes and addressing the Americans, said ‘Read my lips! No!’”
(Putin was infact referring to George H.W. Bush in his quip.)
Among the many accusations levelled at the Kremlin are that it employed a vast network of trolls and hacked or infected devices known as ‘bots’ to spread fake news and misinformation, targeting Democratic-leaning states like Wisconsin and Michigan where Trump narrowly defeated Hilary Clinton.
It is “strange” that Russia concentrated anti-Hillary news in WI, PA and MI – and Trump knew to campaign there. #SenateIntelligenceCommittee— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) March 30, 2017