President Donald Trump rebuked his national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, saying in a tweet that his aide had neglected to defend his 2016 victory when discussing US claims that Russia meddled in the election.
“General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems,” Trump tweeted, using a derogatory epithet for Hillary Clinton.
McMaster on Saturday told an audience at the Munich Security Conference that Russia engaged in a “sophisticated form of espionage” against the US in a futile attempt at disruption. He referred to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s charges this week against 13 Russian nationals and a St. Petersburg-based “troll farm,” accused of seeking to interfere in the US presidential election in 2016.
“The evidence is now really incontrovertible and available in the public domain, whereas in the past it was difficult to attribute,” McMaster said on a panel on Saturday. Russian attempts to influence politics in the US and elsewhere are “just not working,” McMaster said.
Earlier Saturday, Trump referenced posts by Rob Goldman, Facebook vice president of ad sales, that said the goal of the sophisticated Russian influence operation was to divide Americans and sow fear and hatred. Facebook verified the authenticity of Goldman’s posts.
Among the evidence Goldman pointed to in a series of posts was that 56 percent of the Facebook ads bought by the indicted Russians were displayed after the November 8 election, while users still considering who to vote for would have seen only about 44 percent.
In a follow-up tweet, Goldman attempted to soften his earlier comments by saying that “the Russian campaign was certainly in favor of Trump. The point is that the misinformation campaign is ongoing and must be addressed.”