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Evidence suggests Russia is targeting U.S. elections (yes, again)

The problem is not just that Russia is taking steps to interfere in our 2024 elections. The problem is also the familiarity of the circumstances.


The apparent fact that Russia is already taking steps to interfere with the United States’ 2024 elections might be more shocking if we hadn’t already lived through the last several years. NBC News reported:

Russia is already spreading disinformation in advance of the 2024 election, using fake online accounts and bots to damage President Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats, according to former U.S. officials and cyber experts. The dissemination of attacks on Biden is part of a continuing effort by Moscow to undercut American military aid to Ukraine and U.S. support for and solidarity with NATO, experts said.

It was just a couple of days ago when Jake Sullivan, the White House national security advisor, said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” that there’s “plenty of reason to be concerned” about Russia’s trying to interfere in the 2024 election cycle, though he couldn’t go into detail about the latest intelligence.

Sullivan added, “[T]his is not about politics. This is about national security. It is about a foreign country — a foreign adversary — seeking to manipulate the politics and democracy of the United States of America.”

What’s more, Russia’s interest in the outcomes of our election are especially acute right now because of the United States’ support for Ukraine, which was attacked by Russia two years ago.

Bret Schafer, a senior fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy of the German Marshall Fund, who tracks foreign disinformation efforts, told NBC News, “Not that they didn’t have an incentive to interfere in the last two presidential elections. But I would say that the incentive to interfere is heightened right now.”

But as Moscow’s efforts come into focus, it’s worth appreciating the familiarity of the circumstances.

In 2016, Russia targeted U.S. elections. There used to be a bipartisan consensus on this obvious and uncontested fact.

In 2018, Russia targeted U.S. elections. Though Donald Trump, for reasons that have never been explained, rejected his own country’s intelligence on the matter, the United States’ top national security officials made it categorically clear that Russia took deliberate steps to interfere in the midterm cycle.

In 2020, Russia targeted U.S. elections. In fact, intelligence officials told Congress about the evidence showing that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign for the express purpose of trying to secure a second term for Trump.

In 2022, Russia targeted U.S. elections. In fact, The Wall Street Journal reported last year, “The Russian government and its proxies attempted to denigrate the Democratic Party and undermine voter confidence ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.”

And in 2024, Russia is once against targeting U.S. elections.

The pattern isn’t exactly subtle.

But as Rachel explained on last night’s show, one of the most important differences between the Kremlin’s latest efforts and the Putin regime’s earlier intelligence operations is that many Republican officials no longer bother with the pretense that Russian intervention is a problem. Look no further than GOP officials’ embrace of an “informant” who peddled false dirt on President Joe Biden after interacting with foreign intelligence officials — including Russia.