Ray Hagar: Reid warns of Russian manipulation in U.S. elections
September 12, 2016 – By Ray Hagar, Nevada Newsmakers
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nv., said Monday that the Russian government has infiltrated the U.S. election process.
“I am convinced of that,” Reid said during a taping of the Nevada Newsmakers television program in Washington D.C.
Reid said he sent a letter to the FBI, warning the agency of his concerns of Russian manipulation.
“Let’s suffice it to say that an investigation is taking place,” Reid said. “I have had a number of briefings. I have read all of the public press and I have reason to believe that the Russians are infiltrating our system.”
Reid mentioned two states whose election systems may have already been hacked by the Russians.
“The day after I came up with this (Russian assertion), a story broke that they know the Russians are manipulating elections in Illinois and Arizona. Think about that. There have been other stories. It’s so brazen.”
Last month, the FBI sent warnings to state officials to boost their election security because of evidence that hackers targeted data systems in Illinois and Arizona, according to The Associated Press.
The Russian government had earlier been blamed for hacks into the Democratic National Committee’s computer network by U.S. intelligence agencies. Those hacks led to the release of thousands of internal emails just before the Democratic National Convention this summer.
Reid also made note of the past of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who used to work for his nation’s espionage agency.
“Remember Putin is a KGB guy,” Reid said, referring to the former Soviet security agency, which was formed in 1954 and ceased in 1991. “The KGB has changed its name but it is still in every place that it used to be by the present company.”
Reid also praised former GOP opponent Sharron Angle, saying she is a much better candidate than GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.
Reid defeated Angle, a Christian conservative, in the 2010 U.S. Senate race. Reid, who has served as Senate Majority Leader, did not seek re-election this cycle.
“Sharron is a much better candidate than Donald Trump,” Reid said. “To compare the two, she (Angle) is an all-star.”
Reid criticized Trump at length during the taping of Nevada Newsmakers.
“He has done so many things that are just absolutely unbelievable,” Reid said of Trump. “He does not believe climate change is here and that he knows more than the people running the Pentagon.
“If I would have said any of the things he’s said, my career would have been over,” Reid said.
Reid was confident state Sen. Ruben Kihuen, D-North Las Vegas, would defeat incumbent Rep. Cresent Hardy, R-Nv., in Nevada’s 4th district U.S. House race.
He also said Jacky Rosen, the Democrat, would probably defeat the GOP’s Danny Tarkanian in the 3rd District.
Reid, however, was not confident that Democratic challenger Chip Evans would defeat incumbent Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nv., in Northern Nevada’s 4th District congressional race. Amodei has held the seat since a 2010 special election.
“Chip is fighting a real uphill battle,” Reid said. “We support him, but that is a Republican district. It’s a pretty tough district.”
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