On Wednesday, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced that the recent string of threatening emails claiming to be from the Proud Boys demanding people vote for President Donald Trump in fact came from Iran — although his claim that this operation was actually to hurt Trump has been met with widespread skepticism.
On CNN, Chris Cuomo pointed out that although the Proud Boys weren’t themselves involved in the incident, Trump did a lot to make it happen — by talking up the Proud Boys at the first presidential debate, and alerting foreign actors that they were a good group to impersonate.
“Our government says, again, Iran is behind messages like this,” said Cuomo. “And yes, they are threatening whether you’re in Florida or Alaska or wherever they’re going now. It is not from the Proud Boys … all right? Now, you will see threats in these emails, if you don’t vote for Trump, we have your information, we know where you live, we will come after you. A lot of people getting these have already voted, but still very scary to receive one, I’m sure.”
“The choice to use the Proud Boys is also relevant,” said Cuomo. “It is proof that the president’s influence at home and abroad is real, because he talked this group up, and he made them a target of opportunity for our enemies. Remember his message to the hateful Proud Boys of ‘stand back and stand by’ at the last debate. Now we know at least one foreign actor was listening. These foreign efforts are expected, by the way. We saw them in 2016. We see them all the time. What’s not expected is for their goal to be given a boost by our president.”