Former FBI counterintelligence agent Clint Watts said President Donald Trump and some congressional Republicans almost acted as if they were carrying out a script from a Russian influence operation.
The cybersecurity expert told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” explained how such an operation would unfold, and he said the president and his GOP allies seemed to be pushing Kremlin propaganda and strategic goals.
“First thing you do is you seed accounts in social media, seed players, operatives, political parties, NGOs, groups like that into the U.S. audience space, you align with them based on interest, financial being a big one, information being another one, common issues, like ‘America first,'” Wattsa said. “That’s great for Russia, because if America puts America first and the world second, Russia can get on the world stage.”
Influence operations seek to nudge their target audience toward certain behaviors, and he said Republican lawmakers who visited Russia this month were a perfect example of this.
“Over time you just cultivate those relationships, and the end goal is a behavior change in your target audience,” Watts said. “We saw this happen last week. We saw senators go to Russia and literally repeat lines that Russia would want them to say — sanctions aren’t working, maybe you shouldn’t pursue these, or everybody does influence and meddling.
“Sen. (Richard) Shelby (R-AL), he essentially repeated a line you will hear come out of the Kremlin,” Watts said, referring to the senator’s description of Russia as a competitor, not an adversary — which Trump has also repeated.
“That’s the behavior change they want,” Watts said. “The thing we don’t realize is that it is boiling the frog. It is very slow and the goal is to nudge the target audience, which is the Republican Party, to take on your agenda.”
He said the House Judiciary Committee hearing with FBI agent Peter Strzok also advanced Russian interests at the expense of American institutions.
“You saw Republicans in Congress attacking another U.S. institution to defend President Trump, who’s under investigation from a Russia collusion and obstruction case,” Watts said. “This is exactly how active measures (play out), which is have your adversary fight with itself so they cannot fight with you and withdraw on the world stage.”
“At every single point, with the exception of one — removal of sanctions — Russia has advanced its goals and foreign policy,” he added.
Democrat moves to impeach Trump immediately following House condemning president’s racism
Immediately following the House of Representatives voting to condemn racist remarks by President Donald Trump, a Democrat introduced a privileged motion to impeach the president.
Rep. Al Green (D-TX) gave an impassioned speech to begin impeachment proceedings for Trump committing high crimes and misdemeanors.
"Therefore, Donald John Trump, by causing such harm to the society of the United States, is unfit to be president and warrants impeachment, trial and removal from office," he said.
Trump ‘reached into the Genesis chapter of the bigot’s bible’ to attack the Squad: journalist
On Tuesday, journalist Jamil Smith wrote a column scorching President Donald Trump's attacks on "The Squad," as an act of utmost bigotry — and narcissism.
"Trump would surely love to run against these four women in 2020 rather than an actual opponent, positioning them all as racial bogeymen," wrote Smith. "It's a royal flush for his racist campaign: two black women, including one who wears a hijab and is a Somali refugee; a boricua from the Bronx; and a first-generation Palestinian-American from Detroit."
House of Representatives votes for resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s racism
President Donald Trump was condemned by the House of Representatives on Tuesday for his racist attacks on young women of color in Congress.
The resolution was passed with the support of every Democrat. The final vote was 240-187.
The text said "Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color."
The resolved that the body "strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should “go back” to other countries, by referring to immigrants and asylum seekers as “invaders,” and by saying that Members of Congress who are immigrants (or those of our colleagues who are wrongly assumed to be immigrants) do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America."