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Amid Mueller Indictments, EU on Guard for Russian Meddling

Amid Mueller Indictments, EU on Guard for Russian Meddling
FBI special counsel Robert Mueller (AP)

Monday, 19 February 2018 07:11 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Barely three days ago, FBI special counsel Robert Mueller made international headlines when he came down with indictments of 13 Russian officials for interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

Now, at least three European Union members — Spain, Germany, and Italy — have taken their lead from Mueller and are stepping up their efforts to ferret out the hand of the Kremlin in recent or upcoming elections.

Javier Rupérez, Spain's former ambassador to the U.S., has long maintained Spanish authorities believe there was Russian involvement in the recent plebiscite to declare Catalonia an independent nation-state.

"Our security and intelligence services have been following for months already the traces of Russian interference in Spanish domestic affairs, with a special emphasis on events in Catalonia," Rupérez told Newsmax. "I am sure Mueller's indictments will only reinforce the surveillance and confirm our own analysis."

"There was quite a bit of fear that Russia might influence the German elections, but so far there's no evidence as the campaign went pretty smoothly," said Martin Klingst, senior political correspondent for the venerable German publication Die Zeit. "There was no mud-throwing and no deliberately launched fake news about the candidates."

But, he quickly added, the authorities might have an interest in any Russian connection to the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party — especially if Chancellor Angela Merkel is unable to form a government and another election is called.

"Although there is no evidence so far Russia has helped the party financially, I'm sure this could happen if we fail to form a new government and we're headed toward new elections in which the AfD's influence grows," Klingst said.

AfD, which placed third in the elections last fall and holds 92 seats in the Bundestag (parliament), favors a warmer relationship with Russia. At campaign events for cultivating the estimated 2.5 million Russian immigrants to Germany, the AfD offered German translations of Vladimir Putin's speeches.

Italy will go to the polls March 6 and, according to veteran journalist and TV producer Susanna Bonini, "Italian authorities ARE concerned with Russian interference."

Bonini told us "there are rumors — well, more than rumors — that [the populist] Five-Star and Northern League parties have good connections in Moscow. One of Moscow's major interests is having a weak and split European Union."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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European Union members are on alert and hunt for Russian election meddling after FBI special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian agents for interfering in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
european union, fbi, special counsel, robert mueller, election meddling
Monday, 19 February 2018 07:11 PM
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