Secretary of State Rex Tillerson admitted that the United States is woefully unprepared to confront Russian meddling in future elections.
Russian interference in the 2016 election has been well-established, though the extent to which their meddling influenced the outcome of the election remains unclear. Russia has, unsurprisingly, consistently denied any such activity. Incredibly, so has President Donald Trump, who admittedly admires Russian President Vladmir Putin. In fact, in the summer of 2016, Trump encouraged Russia to hack the emails of the Democratic National Committee, which they subsequently did.
In an interview with Fox News in Bogota, Colombia, Tillerson said, "I don't know that I would say we are better prepared, because the Russians will adapt as well." He added that "the point is, if it's their intention to interfere, they are going to find ways to do that. We can take steps we can take but this is something that, once they decide they are going to do it, it's very difficult to preempt it."
But with the 2018 midterm elections approaching, and despite ongoing warnings from American intelligence agencies, not much is being done to protect the integrity of our elections.
"I think it's important we just continue to say to Russia, 'Look, you think we don't see what you're doing. We do see it and you need to stop. If you don't, you're going to just continue to invite consequences for yourself,'" Tillerson remarked in the interview.
Former George W. Bush White House ethics lawyer went so far as to say that Putin should send soldiers to march in Trump's desired military parade.
Bush ethics lawyer: Putin should send soldiers to march in Trump's military parade https://t.co/3Pl3fZYW8u https://t.co/YSxfiU10vk— The Hill (@The Hill) 1518045007.0
Former Independent Presidential Candidate Evan McMullin made some good points on Twitter earlier today.
It’s time to acknowledge plainly that Trump likely doesn’t want to stop Moscow’s interference. Foreign leaders back… https://t.co/uMgfVccTg2— Evan McMullin 🇺🇸 (@Evan McMullin 🇺🇸) 1518027726.0
Trump has also refused to enact sanctions on Russia that received overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress, despite his promise to do so. Tillerson also remarked on the relationship between Russia and Syria, which has only escalated tensions between the United States and Russia.
"They are supporting the Assad regime, they are providing the air cover for the regime. Russia is responsible, they agreed that they would take care of the chemical weapons in Syria, clearly they failed to do that," said Tillerson. "Russia really needs to move to a different place on this, and they can deny it all they want to, but facts are facts and they need to go to another spot."
@StateDept @RichEdsonDC @FoxNews PROVE YOU MEAN IT! ENACT RUSSIA SANCTIONS CONGRESS VOTED ON TO PROVE TRUMP & YOU (… https://t.co/bUdBENETtz— Cecilia Maida (@Cecilia Maida) 1518036650.0
Protecting the integrity of our elections is absolutely essential if our democracy is to survive. The time to act is now.