Top US diplomat: Russia trying 'to break apart the American republic'


Trump refuses to defend the U.S. from Russia's ceaseless attacks.

Russia isn't simply trying to interfere in American elections, a top U.S. diplomat warned Congress on Tuesday. Acting on the command of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, hackers and operatives are determined to undercut and dismantle U.S democracy by pitting Americans against each other.

"Putin wants to break apart the American republic not by influencing an election or two, but by systematically inflaming the fault lines within our society," A. Wess Mitchell, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

"Putin's thesis is that the American constitution is an experiment that will fail if it is challenged from the right way within."

Specifically, Mitchell stressed that Russian operatives were supporting American groups on both ends of the political spectrum, both financially and organizationally, in hopes of fueling deep discord.

"It's a very cynical effort to pit preexisting political camps against one other," he said.

The worse thing to do, Mitchell warned, is to politicize the Russian attacks, which is exactly what Trump has done.

Last month, he tweeted that Russia "will be pushing very hard for the Democrats."

Mitchell's stark warning stands in contrast to Trump's muddled and timid message about Russian attacks. Just this week, he suggested that maybe Russians weren't involved in the 2016 campaign, a claim that's universally dismissed by the U.S. intelligence community.

Tuesday's congressional notice came on the same day that Microsoft announced it had identified and seized fake websites that were created to try to trick users into thinking they were interacting with conservative-leaning think tanks that have been critical of Putin.

"The fake websites were used as the conduit for a number of attacks, including persuading victims to download harmful malware or to reveal passwords and other personal information," the New York Times reported.

That cyberattack is linked to the same Russian military intelligence unit accused on attacking the 2016 election.

In July, special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers, charging them with hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

The Microsoft discovery is just the latest chapter in what appears to be a ceaseless campaign of attacks.

The Department of Homeland Security reported earlier this year that Russian hackers had targeted the U.S. power grid as part of a effort to compromise specific government entities and critical infrastructure.

Between March 2016 and March 2018, Russia carried out cyberattacks aimed at infiltrating U.S. targets including “energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors,” the report confirmed.

That report came on the heels of senior U.S. intelligence officials telling NBC News that Russia had compromised state election websites in at least seven states prior to the 2016 election.

America remains under attack, and Trump refuses to defend us.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.