- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hammered President Trump in a new report that claims his administration “has largely ignored” the ongoing threat of Russian meddling designed to undermine democracies across the Western world.

“President Trump is squandering an opportunity to lead America’s allies and partners to build a collective defense against the Kremlin’s global assault on democratic institutions and values,” states the report released Wednesday.

There was no immediate response to the report from the administration, although Mr. Trump tweeted his frustration Wednesday morning with Democrats who’ve criticized his general posture and policies toward Russia.

Several Democrat lawmakers have spent much of the past year pushing a narrative that Trump presidential campaign may have “colluded” with Russian operatives meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

“The single greatest Witch Hunt in American history continues. There was no collusion, everybody including the Dems knows there was no collusion, & yet on and on it goes,” Mr. Trump tweeted Wednesday. “Russia & the world is laughing at the stupidity they are witnessing. Republicans should finally take control!”

While the Republican-controlled Congress has responded to the ongoing threat of Russian meddling with such legislation as the Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which Mr. Trump signed into law in August, Wednesday’s report claims the administration is still not doing enough.

The report, compiled by staff researchers on the Democrat side of the Foreign Relations Committee, chronicles Russian meddling activities in more than a dozen nations. The report laments that the Trump administration has “proposed cuts to assistance across Europe that could help counter the Kremlin’s malign influence, especially in the areas of good governance, anti-corruption, and independent media efforts.”

While Moscow vehemently denies accusations that it has meddled in European affairs or in last year’s U.S. presidential election, the report argues that Russian President Vladimir Putin has “made it a priority of his regime to attack the democracies of Europe and the United States and undermine the transatlantic alliance upon which Europe’s peace and prosperity have depended upon for over 70 years.”

“He has used the security services, the media, public and private companies, organized criminal groups, and social and religious organizations to spread malicious disinformation, interfere in elections, fuel corruption, threaten energy security, and more,” the report states.

“At their most extreme, the Russian government’s security services have been used to harass and even assassinate political enemies at home and abroad; cheat at the Olympic Games; and protect and exploit cybercriminals in Russia who attack American businesses and steal the financial information of American consumers.”

U.S. intelligence agencies publicized an assessment last January — on the eve of Mr. Trump’s inauguration — claiming that Russian operatives had meddled in the 2016 American election with the goal of helping Mr. Trump beat Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton.

Interviews that The Washington Times has conducted with more than three dozen current and former lawmakers, diplomats and U.S. and international intelligence officials show a solid consensus that Kremlin operatives cared less about whether Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton came out victorious.

Wednesday’s report presents more than 30 recommendations for what Washington should be doing to protect against Russian meddling in future U.S. elections.

Chief among the recommendations is one stating that Mr. Trump “should immediately declare that it is U.S. policy to counter and deter all forms of the Kremlin’s hybrid threats against the United States and around the world.”


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