Yesterday, the New York Times reported that the United States Cyber Command will begin a campaign to target individual Russian operatives they believe are trying to influence the 2018 midterm elections. This action comes off the heels of a Justice Department report that said Russian agents are actively involved in a campaign of “information warfare” to disrupt the upcoming elections, and after they unsealed charges against a woman who they’ve labeled as the “chief accountant” of the 2018 election interference operation.
Though President Trump has somewhat stayed out of this fight, he has mostly remained passive if not a bit dismissive of claims that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, most likely because many experts say the Russian interference was to propel his candidacy. Despite Trump’s silence on the issue since he last spoke about it in Helsinki in July, on Tuesday his national security advisor John M. Bolton told reporters in Moscow that Russian interference in the 2016 election had created animosity between the two nations, but that the results of the election would not have been changed.
While some doubt the results would have been the same, according to national security expert Juliette Kayyem, Trump staying in power is exactly what Russian President Vladimir Putin wants.
“The idea that Putin’s motivation is simply to disrupt democracy is only a small sliver of what his agenda is. He wants to have elected a certain kind of democratic leader, one that is popularly elected by a populist movement that questions the post-World War Two order which essentially isolated Russia,” Kayyem told Boston Public Radio this morning.