The trolls, Fly said, were pushing inflammatory pro- and anti-gun control messages within hours of the killings, with “Russian accounts that were jumping on both sides, basically egging Americans on, making everyone angrier, trying to divide us rather than bring us together in a moment of crisis.” The Hamilton findings were widely cited by news organizations from the New York Times to CNN.
…Ever since the new Mueller charges, Trump and his defenders have stopped for the most part outright denying the Russian meddling in 2016 took place and switched to claiming both that allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election are overblown and inconsequential, and also that President Obama was too weak in responding to it. The confusing, contradictory and blame-gaming approach was perfectly summed up by a Trump tweet posted Saturday: “this whole Witch Hunt is an illegal disgrace,” he wrote, “and Obama did nothing about Russia!”
…At one point in our conversation, I asked Rosenberger whether she thought the Russian propagandists really had affected the outcome of the election, a subject of renewed hot debate across social media ever since the Mueller indictments.
“It’s the wrong question to be asking,” she insisted. “Because, to me, the reality is that the Russians are attacking our country. … And so I think that defining this in terms of the election and trying to parse whether or not this tweet reached that many people and could it have affected X, Y and Z, I mean, the reality is we’re still learning the entirety of this thing. We may never know the entirety of it.”
…“Our project starts with the premise that both parties and presidents of both parties have made mistakes vis-à-vis Russia over the last several decades,” said Fly.
…[Fly] added, “I never imagined in my wildest dreams that this would be something that would actually be turned against America. And I think it’s a failure of imagination that unfortunately many in our national security community had about this. There was always this perception that there was some red line that Putin would never cross.”