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Rep. Adam Schiff: Russian Hacking 'Utterly Unprecedented'

Image: Rep. Adam Schiff: Russian Hacking 'Utterly Unprecedented'

Rep. Adam Schiff (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 28 Dec 2016 01:04 PM

Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee, said in an interview with The Atlantic that hackers working with the Russian government are a concern that must not be ignored.

"What we saw the Russians do in our presidential election was just utterly unprecedented in its scope and its impact," the California Democrat said.

"What made this so unique was the Russian willingness to dump this information in a way to damage one of the candidates, Secretary (of State, Hillary) Clinton, and in doing so, help another, Donald Trump."

President Barack Obama needs to take measures against Russia before he leaves office, according to Schiff.

"The clandestine steps that he takes now are things that could not be easily undone by the incoming administration. And that would also send a powerful message to the Russians."

Schiff called into question Trump's refusal to admit Russia had a hand in the hacks. "Here you had, in Donald Trump, someone who was willing, on the one hand, to egg on the Russians to hack more, but on the other, to give them deniability — a feat of both mental and rhetorical gymnastics that few could pull off. But he did."

Democrats also bear some responsibility for letting the situation get further out of hand, Schiff said. Democrats and President Barack Obama's administration knew that Russians had hacked the campaign. However, "Democrats failed to persuade the American people why they should care… By not doing more, by not saying more, the administration missed an important opportunity to help inform the American public about the serious nature of the meddling that was going on."

Trump might ignore intelligence if it goes against his personal viewpoints, Schiff said. It's "a very dangerous trait to have in a commander in chief."

"It's less a partisan issue than it is a Donald Trump issue, because among Democrats and Republicans there is very broad acceptance that the Russians hacked and meddled in the election," Schiff said. He compared Trump's questions about hacking to Trump's claim that he would have won the popular vote if it was not for illegal votes.

"That's pure fiction. For someone who is about to be our president to publish that falsity is alarming… This is a president-elect who cannot accept any facts that diminish any of his achievements, no matter how well-established the facts are."

Trump may be forced to admit that Russian involvement happened, Schiff said. He argued that, "Sober minds around him — to the degree there are sober minds around him — understand that they're going to have to acknowledge the uncontested Russian involvement here. So at some point they're going to have to find a face-saving way to do that."

"I have no confidence that President Trump will bring about any sanctions on Russia," Schiff said.

The committee leader has spoken about the Russian hacks before. Last week on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Schiff said Russia was playing "rope-a-dope" with the Obama administration, referring to the boxing strategy in which a fighter lures his opponent toward him before striking. "I think this was just the Russians' way of poking their finger in our eye, in the eye of the administration," he said.

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Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee, said in an interview with The Atlantic that hackers working with the Russian government are a concern that must not be ignored.
adam schiff, russian, hack, unprecedented
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2016-04-28
Wednesday, 28 Dec 2016 01:04 PM
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