Keating: Russia ‘Won’t Stop’ Interfering in U.S. Affairs [VIDEO]
U.S. Representative William Keating (D-Massachusetts) has had an inside look at both Russia and the investigation into election interference, and he called into WBSM's Chris McCarthy Tuesday morning to share his insight.
Keating, who serves on the House Committee for Foreign Affairs as well as the Homeland Security Committee, has traveled twice to Russia, when working on the congressional investigation into the Boston Marathon bombing.
"They committed an attack on our country, a cyber attack that we're learning not only had great sophistication, and a great deal of money and resources behind it coming directly out of Russia, but they've been on American soil dealing with this," he said.
On February 16, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals for interfering with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. But Congressman Keating said the extent of Russia's interference goes beyond just that election, and even extends to last Wednesday's massacre at a Florida high school that led to the deaths of 17 students and teachers.
Keating said he also learned through questioning two weeks ago in Congress that Russia has hacked into the actual voting apparatus in over 20 states--which has led to an increase in states ditching electronic voting machines and returning to paper ballots.
"In my questioning, I asked, 'can they change the actual voting situation?' and the experts I questioned said they could," Keating said. "They had the ability to take people off the voter list to cause chaos. And that's why this latest decision to move to paper ballots all through the country is an important one."
Keating said it's not just that Russia's campaign meddling goes all the way back to 2014, but also that they carried it out in other areas, particularly the U.S. allies in Europe. He pointed out Russian entities gave over $10 million to the campaign of Marie LePen in France, and that they also got involved in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's campaign.
"So they're going to do it again. Every intelligence agency in our country says they're going to do it again," Keating said. "They've even been involved in trying to create division around the tragedy of the Parkland (Florida) shooting, so they don't stop. They won't stop."
Keating said Congress has voted to put strong sanctions on Russia, and in particular the oligarchs that are funding these operations.
"And (President Trump) has decided in just the last 10 days, he's not going to institute those sanctions directed upon him by Congress. So there's strong bipartisan concern, and a little bit of anger, at these sanctions not being imposed," Keating said. "I think with the revelations now being public, there will be a lot more effort to ensure we're in effect striking back at these Russians. The worst thing we can do is just let them continue doing what they're doing unanswered."
The congressman said he also doesn't agree with the argument that Russia should feel empowered to meddle in a U.S. election, because the U.S. gets involved in other elections around the world.
"The United States, across the whole world, tries to be advocates for free speech, for democratic elections," he said. "They look at it as interference, but we're not targeting Russia. We're just saying that, as part of what we believe as a country and what we know is better for our own security back home, it's better to have democracy be available. We don't impose it, but we try to encourage it."