Hillary Clinton: ‘Putin’s Ultimate Goal is to Sow as Much Dissension, Instability Inside Democracies’

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JUL 22, 2018: Former US secretary of state Hillary Cliton on Sunday described the recent summit with Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin as ‘deeply disturbing’ and alarming on many levels.

The former Democratic presidential contender against Republican Donald Trump, who’s maintained a very public profile since her 2016 loss, spoke at an Ozy Festival panel discussion in New York City’s Central Park on Saturday calling Trump’s failure to tackle Vladimir Putin over Russian interference in the 2016 US election “deeply disturbing” and a “mystery”.

Clinton also said Russian agents were targeting the November midterm elections in a renewed attempt to disrupt US democracy, and could this time attack election infrastructure such as “the servers you send results to” and “the operations of voting machines”.

Clinton said sources have told her Moscow may target servers and voting machines next.

During a question and answer session, the former Secretary of State said that “the great mystery is why this president has not spoken up for our country, and we saw this most clearly in this recent meeting with Putin.”

In a move that drew criticism from even within Trump’s circle, the president met with Putin alone for two hours that preceded their joint press conference in Helsinki–something Clinton criticized in her appearance. She said that each time she met with Putin or President Barack Obama, there were always note-takers present to make certain “there is no mistake on what was said.”

The lack of a public record of the one-on-one meeting without notetakers raised alarm bells, Clinton said. Amid confusion and contradictory statements from Trump and other policymakers in the ensuring days, “this idea that we are not sure where our own president stands is deeply disturbing,” she added.

“Putin has been giving press statements, reaching out to other world leaders and telling the world what was decided,” Clinton said.

However, “we are hearing crickets from the White House. Nothing is being put out that is in any way contradictory or replacing the Putin agenda with whatever Trump was doing.”

With the U.S. intelligence committee warning that Russian hackers are still trying to undermine the U.S. electoral system today, Clinton agreed that Moscow’s covert influence is still a big risk.

Russia’s interference “is a direct attack on our democracy,” Clinton added.

n Helsinki last week, Trump sparked a firestorm by appearing to question Russia’s involvement in U.S. election meddling, contradicting his own intelligence apparatus and many members of his own party. His pointed questioning of the U.S. commitment to NATO countries also stirred days of controversy.

Clinton said because Russia has not faced any consequences for its actions, other nations such as China, North Korea and Iran may feel emboldened to engage in cyber attacks.

“Getting away with this type of attack only empowers them and gives them more reason to keep probing, and possibly damaging or destroying institutions in our economy and government,” she said

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