Editors’ Note: We deeply respect the attention of voters and our readers to issues, but are also sensitive to the reality that the speed and volume of news and the news cycle tend to overwhelm each of us. Therefore, VoxFairfax reviewed a portion of the timeline of US and Russian exchanges concerning election interference.
MEDDLING, MUDDYING, AND MALFEASANCE
On July 16, 2018, the President is to meet with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland. On Friday, July 13, ominously, the Special Counsel indicted 12 Russian military individuals under Putin’s command for hacking and interfering in the 2016 US election. The President has promised to put the question to the Russian President as to whether his country interfered in the US election.
The National Security Advisor, John Bolton, just returned from Moscow, where he engaged President Putin in some ground work for today’s meeting with the President. Since the issue of Russian interference in our 2016 election arose, it was time to look in the rear-view mirror.
- In a Fox News interview in 2014, Donald Trump told the interviewer that Russian meddling was a “big problem.” He reiterated this position in a December 2016 interview with CNN.
- By the fall of 2016, during the debates, candidate Trump questioned the reliability of information concerning Russian interference in US elections.
- In January 2017, in a pre-inauguration briefing, the President-elect was informed that the nation’s intelligence agencies had evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
- On November 11, 2017, the President, having met with Putin, stated: “He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election” and “I really believe…he means it.”
- Following his visit to Moscow this month, John Bolton told Fox News that Putin said “there was no meddling in the 2016 election by the Russian state.”
At present, there is also no evidence that the nation has plans to protect its electoral system from foreign interference, and thus we remain vulnerable to such meddling. Keep in mind, however, that Putin has denied meddling. The presidential exchanges only muddy the picture but the absence of a concerted effort to thwart such interference can only be said to be malfeasance.
What will the report of the July 16, 2018, meeting reveal about Russian interference in our election? Stay tuned.