Tags: Trump Administration | Russia | bob corker | russia | election | interfere

Sen. Bob Corker: Russia's Election Interference Intentionally 'Overt'


By    |   Tuesday, 15 November 2016 01:44 PM

Countries often try to interfere in other nations' elections, but Russia attempted to interfere "overtly," which is unusual, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said Tuesday.

"The fact is that there's nothing that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin would like more than to discredit the electoral process here in our country because, and look, we in some ways helped discredit their process back in 2011," Corker, R-Tennessee, whose name has been mentioned as a potential secretary of State under Donald Trump, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program.

"So, there's no question. What was unprecedented about this was the overt nature. Things constantly are occurring where countries are doing things to in some ways destabilize [elections]. I mean, it happens. We know that. "

But with the 2016 election process, the interference was done in a way that was meant to be "visible to the world," Corker said. "That was a new step. I really do think, and I do believe, they were involved. I have no proof of that at present. I do believe they were involved. And I do believe that it was purposely done to try to embarrass and to discredit."

Ironically, said Corker, Russians were watching the news coming from the United States and seeing what they thought was a rigged election in favor of Hillary Clinton, but "all of a sudden, someone won who no one thought was going to win, and in many ways, it backfired on Putin.

Russians now understand, he continued, there is a "real democratic process in our country," Corker said. "There will be hearings, and obviously, the integrity of our process is something we hold dearly."

Meanwhile, over the next four years, if there is a way President-elect Donald Trump can help build a stronger relationship with Russia, "that would be great," Corker said.

"They have the same issues relative to terrorism to confront that we do, and I think it's always good when the leader of the United States and the leader of an important country like Russia begin on a good foot," Corker said. "Hopefully this will lead to different behavior also on behalf of Russia and Putin."

Meanwhile, Corker also spoke out about the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump has vowed to end, and agreed it was a bad deal.

"We gave up all of our leverage," Corker said. "We knew that France and many of the other countries were pursuing this for commercial reasons, which we're seeing at this time. So that's why, again, it's going to take tough diplomatic effort pushing back by us against some of the violations that are taking place, even if we have to do so independently."

But he was diplomatic himself about whether he'd be leading efforts as a secretary of State.

"It's hopeful the secretary of State will come into an environment where they can be productive around the world in advancing our country's national interests," Corker said.

As for an appointment, Corker said, "there are people who have been central to the campaign, in which I was not highly involved. I supported him but I wasn't a central person like so many others, and I realize that it's likely that one of those people who have been so centrally involved in this campaign is more likely to be in that position."

Corker said he has had some conversations with Trump's transition team, but he's getting much of his information from public reports.

"It's a very important post and one that really matters greatly to the safety and security of Americans and, by the way, the economic interests of Americans," he said.

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Countries often try to interfere in other nations' elections, but Russia attempted to interfere "overtly," which is unusual, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said Tuesday.
bob corker, russia, election, interfere
Tuesday, 15 November 2016 01:44 PM
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