Sen. Claire McCaskill alleged on Thursday that Russian hackers have tried to gain access to her office’s computer network but have not succeeded.
The alleged attempt is one of the first public acknowledgments of a cyberattack tied to the midterm elections. McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, is seeking a third term representing a state that voted for Republican President Donald Trump two years ago, and she is among the most at-risk Senate Democrats in the upcoming midterms.
“Russia continues to engage in cyber warfare against our democracy,” the Missouri senator said in a written statement. “I will continue to speak out and press to hold them accountable. While this attack was not successful, it is outrageous that they think they can get away with this. I will not be intimidated. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Putin is a thug and a bully.”
As Rachel discussed on the show last night, the news was first reported by the Daily Beast.
Based on the available information, it appears the Russian efforts against McCaskill were unsuccessful, but the fact that this happened at all is a major development, and the first evidence that the kind of tactics we saw in 2016 are still being utilized in 2018.
What’s more, it’s also the opposite of Donald Trump’s public assessments. It was just a few days ago that the president said he’s “concerned” about Russian interference in the 2018 midterms because, as Trump sees it, our foreign adversary “will be pushing very hard for the Democrats.”
It was also last week when the president appeared to say Russia is no longer trying to influence American elections.
All of this was plainly ridiculous at the time, but it looks a little worse now, since it’s unlikely Russians tried to hack McCaskill in order to help her.