Tags: Trump Administration | Donald Trump | Russia | william courtney | russia | payoff | doubt

Fmr. Amb. William Courtney: Russia May See 'Payoff' in Casting Doubt on US Election

Image: Fmr. Amb. William Courtney: Russia May See 'Payoff' in Casting Doubt on US Election

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By    |   Thursday, 15 Sep 2016 07:35 AM

Russia has the ability to tamper with the United States' election this fall, but until now has felt that doing so could harm the Kremlin's favorite candidate, but now may think there is a way to cast doubt on the process, former U.S. Ambassador William Courtney says.

"[The current Russian leadership] may think there is a low-cost/high-payoff way to increase the perception that the system over here is chaotic and is not reliable," Courtney, formerly the ambassador to Kazakhstan and Georgia and now with the Rand Corporation, told CNN.

For the first time in several years, Russia is under fire for allegedly interfering with the election, and Russian President Vladimir Putin is being blamed by Democrats for being behind the stolen and leaked emails that led to the resignation of national committee chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Just this week, emails were also leaked from the account of former Secretary of State Colin Powell that showed him lambasting both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Trump's praise of Putin's leadership has also led to accusations that the Russian president is using the GOP nominee to affect the United States' power worldwide, CNN reports.

Former CIA covert operations Mike Baker said he does not believe Russia's game is to influence who wins the election, but instead is waging a long game that is "more of a traditional psyops battle where they are trying to erode trust in the electoral process."

Trump, meanwhile, told NBC's Matt Lauer during last week's presidential forum that Putin had been flattering, and that caused him to look at the Russian leader more favorably.

"If he says great things about me, I'm gonna say great things about him. I mean, the man has very strong control over a country," Trump told Lauer. "Certainly in that system he's been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader."

Clinton, meanwhile, says Trump's praise for Putin means he's unpatriotic and reckless, and that it's "beyond one's imagination to have a candidate for president praising a Russian autocrat like Vladimir Putin."

Also, reports CNN, the United States has not provided concrete evidence that Russia is attacking the elections, and the Kremlin denies being involved.

However, Putin says the United States and European allies have conspired against Russia in Libya, Syria, Georgia, and Ukraine, reports CNN, and has accused Clinton of intervening against his party in 2011 while she was secretary of state.

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Russia has the ability to tamper with the United States' election this fall, but until now has felt that doing so could harm the Kremlin's favorite candidate, but now may think there is a way to cast doubt on the process, former U.S. Ambassador William Courtney says.
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Thursday, 15 Sep 2016 07:35 AM
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