Clinton Watts testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing convened to determine whether Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian operatives to interfere in the November elections. Watts is a senior fellow at the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University. He told the senators that Russia continues to interfere in American electoral politics, just as it does routinely in Europe. And the Russians didn’t just wake up and start their interference in September either with the aim of shooting down the candidacy of Hillary Clinton, according to Watts. Watts said:
“They were in full swing during both the Republican and Democratic primary season — and may have helped sink the hopes of candidates more hostile to Russian interests long before the field narrowed.”
Watts added, speaking directly to committee member Marco Rubio, a Trump rival for the GOP nomination during the primaries: “Sen. Rubio, in my opinion, you anecdotally suffered from these efforts.” Other US politicians who Watts believes have been directly impacted by Russian subterfuge included Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. “This past week we observed social media campaigns targeting speaker of the House Paul Ryan,” Watts said, alluding to Ryan’s failure to push the healthcare bill through.