Russia not the first to mess with our politics

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tags: election 2016, DNC convention



Tim Naftali is a CNN presidential historian.

Related Link What George Washington Knew About Vladimir Putin’s Political Hack (Daily Beast op ed)

Over the weekend, Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, Robby Mook, implicitly linked alleged Russian-sponsored hacks on Democratic National Committee servers and Donald Trump's statements casting doubt on whether the United States should support the Baltic states against future Russian aggression to the WikiLeaks release of DNC emails. And now the FBI has confirmed it's investigating whether Russia was involved in the hack.

If Mook is onto something, and our democracy has indeed been dealt a foreign blow, you might be asking yourself: In modern U.S. political history, how unprecedented are such serious efforts by foreign governments to mess with our domestic politics?

Not at all unprecedented, as it turns out. Ironically, our best friends, the British, are the past masters of this game. In 1940-41, London directed its intelligence services to help Franklin Roosevelt make the case for U.S. intervention, even though many Americans were convinced that isolating this country from the European war was in our long-term interests. They coalesced around what was then called the America First movement.




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