“When a country can come interfere in another country’s elections, that is warfare,” Haley declared during a conference held by the George W. Bush Institute in New York City.
“Somebody lost the election to Mr. Trump – the whole blame was pinned on Russia, and frantic anti-Russian hysteria unfolded. Any failure is linked to Russia. Look for Russian trail in any issue,” Putin said at the Valdai Forum in Sochi on Thursday.
The Russian embassy in Washington DC has issued its own comment.
“In their insinuations about Russia’s ‘interference’ in the 2016 US presidential elections, American politicians know no restraint. One fresh example is the US ambassador to UN, Nikki Haley. She has essentially accused Russia of initiating ‘warfare’ against the US last year.”
The embassy statement has reiterated Russia’s attempts to return relations to normal, based on equality and mutual respect. Since November 2015, it said, Moscow has suggested holding bilateral consultations on cyber threats, but Washington hasn’t shown readiness for that.
“We would like to remind our colleague Nikki Haley,” the statement concludes, “that those who interfered in the US elections, and in the most overt and unceremonious way, should be sought amid officially-declared allies and friends. They campaigned for the Democratic candidate and voiced worries over the Republican candidate’s possible coming to power. The facts are there. It suffices to look at last year’s newspapers or go on the Internet.”
Election meddling, according to Haley, is Russia’s “weapon of choice and we have to make sure we get in front of it.”
And it’s not just the US the Kremlin is waging war against, Haley said. It’s “everywhere,” she claimed, without bothering with specifics.
“We didn’t just see it here. You can look at France and you can look at other countries. They are doing this everywhere.”
Russia’s supposed interference with the 2016 US presidential election has been the subject of a massive investigation by Washington lawmakers and intelligence agencies, which has produced no proof to date. This has never stopped US officials from treating it like a given fact, however, something that, according to Haley, “everybody knows” happened.
As Nikki Haley was issuing her warlike remarks, CIA director Mike Pompeo said the “meddling” has had no effect on the US election whatsoever.
“The intelligence community’s assessment is that the Russian meddling that took place did not affect the outcome of the election,” Pompeo said at a public event, responding to a question from NBC News.