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Michael Hayden: Russia Helped Trump 'Mess With Our Heads'

Image: Michael Hayden: Russia Helped Trump 'Mess With Our Heads'
(Brad Barket/Getty Images for Kairos Society)

By    |   Tuesday, 27 February 2018 10:05 AM

Former CIA head Michael Hayden said Tuesday that although he doesn't know if President Donald Trump colluded with Russia, he believes the Kremlin helped his campaign to advance their own goal to create "deeper divisions within American society."

"There is an eerie and uncomfortable echo between some of the things the president tweets, the different points of emphasis on Fox News, the thematic stories in the alt-right media, and Russian bots," Hayden, a retired general who also led the SNA under former President George W. Bush, said on an episode of Politico's "Off Message" podcast. 

"I don't have to create collusion here: Each for their own purposes are well-served by creating deeper divisions within American society. The president, to play to his base; Fox News, for ratings; the alt-right, because they have a conspiratorial view of everything; and the Russians, to mess with our heads."

"The overall objective of the Russian effort was to mess with our heads and erode confidence," he added. "And they decided by mid-summer that the very best way they could mess with our heads was to make more people vote for Donald Trump, period."

"I see a case for a campaign [that] does not ever seem to have said, 'You know, that wouldn't be right,'" Hayden says of the Trump team. "A campaign who continually calls attention to WikiLeaks? That's help."

President Trump's own son Donald Trump Jr. was in contact with WikiLeaks, which released the hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee, during the campaign via direct messages on Twitter.

"The [Russian lawyer Natalia] Veselnitskaya meeting with the president's son and son-in-law, which fundamentally was, 'The Russian government has dirt on Hillary Clinton. Do you want it?'

And the answer was, 'Sure.' … Then you've got the synchronization of the campaign's movements with WikiLeaks in that exchange of [Twitter direct messages] between Don Jr. and it appears to have been Julian Assange himself, at which point, they're calling attention to themes and websites where the data can be harvested."

He concluded that Russia continues to benefit from the sharp divisions in American society, and that Trump himself continues to help by not accepting reality.

"This was an attack against us from an unexpected direction against a previously unknown weakness. And, it seems, foreign and domestic, law enforcement [and] intelligence, politics and policy, federal and local — it hit that seam, and we don't patch seams without extraordinary effort, energy, focus, and extraordinary structures," Hayden said.

"And we don't go extraordinary unless the president says, 'Everyone over here, huddle up. Here's what we're going to do.'"

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Former CIA head Michael Hayden said Tuesday that although he doesn't know if President Donald Trump colluded with Russia, he believes the Kremlin helped his campaign to advance.
michael hayden, russia, trump, probe, collusion
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2018-05-27
Tuesday, 27 February 2018 10:05 AM
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