George W. Bush Counters Trump on Russian Meddling

Says 'there's pretty clear evidence'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 8, 2018 10:10 AM CST

(Newser) – Former President George W. Bush said on Thursday that "there's pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled" in the 2016 American presidential election, forcefully rebutting fellow Republican Donald Trump's denials of Moscow trying to affect the vote, reports the AP. While never mentioning President Trump by name, Bush appeared to be pushing back on Trump's attempts to have warmer relations with Russia, as well as his comments on immigration. "There's pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled," Bush said at a talk in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. "Whether they affected the outcome is another question." Speaking of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Bush called him "zero-sum. ... He's got a chip on his shoulder."

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"The reason he does is because ... the demise of the Soviet Union troubles him," Bush continued. "Therefore, much of his moves [are] to regain Soviet hegemony." Putin "is pushing, constantly pushing, probing weaknesses," the former president said. "That's why NATO is very important." The White House didn't immediately comment on Bush's remarks. Meanwhile, NBC News interviews Jeanette Manfra, who helms cybersecurity for the Department of Homeland Security and says Russia targeted the voter registration rolls of 21 states and "actually successfully penetrated" a small unspecified number of them. "We were able to determine that the scanning and probing of voter registration databases was coming from the Russian government," Jeh Johnson, who was DHS secretary in 2016, says, though NBC notes there's no evidence any changes were made to the rolls.

(Read more George W. Bush stories.)

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