Yesterday we reported that the 2018 reelection campaign of Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) had been hacked by Russians.
Initially when she was asked about this report, McCaskill said she wasn’t ready to respond because she didn’t have enough information yet.
McCaskill eventually did respond to the reports of Russian hacking by issuing a statement later on Thursday. She said she has verified that Russian hackers had attempted to invade her Senate computer network.
She also declared that the Kremlin’s cyberattacks on her and her campaign were “not successful” and that she “will not be intimidated” by President Vladimir Putin.
McCaskill’s statement read as follows:
“Russia continues to engage in cyber warfare against our democracy. I will continue to speak out and press to hold them accountable. While this attack was not successful, it is outrageous that they think they can get away with this. I will not be intimidated. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Putin is a thug and a bully.”
Since the state of Missouri supported Donald Trump for president by double digits in 2016, it is widely thought that the Missouri Democrat is perhaps the most “at risk” Senate Democratic incumbent in this fall’s midterm elections.
After special counsel Robert Mueller’s recent indictments of 12 Russian military officers on charges of hacking the 2016 U.S. elections, officials have become very worried that Russia will also target the 2018 elections.
Senator McCaskill’s statement is the first time a member of Congress has officially stated that they have been the target of an attack from Russia during the 2018 midterm election cycle.
Not only is McCaskill considered a possible pickup of a Senate seat for Republicans, she has also been a fierce critic of President Trump and has clashed with him at times.
Last month Trump sent out a tweet calling her a “phony.”
Last week new evidence surfaced for the first time of current cyber attacks aimed at American political candidates.
Tom Burt, Microsoft’s vice president for security and trust, said at the Aspen Security Forum that they have detected and blocked hacking attempts against three congressional candidates this year.
In his remarks at the Forum Burt said:
“Earlier this year, we did discover that a fake Microsoft domain had been established as the landing page for phishing attacks. And we saw metadata that suggested those phishing attacks were being directed at three candidates who are all standing for election in the midterm elections.”
Since the summit meeting in Helsinki Trump has expressed several different opinions about whether Moscow is continuing to illegally interfere in U.S. elections. Then, in typical Trumpian fashion, he said if Russia was interfering, it was to help Democrats. In his most recent tweet on the topic, Trump wrote:
“I’m very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!”
The McCaskill hacking incident has proven once again that Trump is lying about Russian interference in U.S. elections. It is not Democrats Russia is trying to help, but Republicans. Now we have proof, thanks to the Russians, who also provided all of America a wake-up call to pay attention and take precautions against Russia’s attempt to steal our democracy.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.