Former President George W. Bush said Thursday there is “pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled” in the 2016 Presidential election.
While Bush did not mention Donald Trump’s name, his comments are a contradiction to President Trump’s denial of Russia affecting the outcome of the election.
“Whether (Russia) affected the outcome is another question,” Bush said at an economic summit in Abu Dhabi. “It’s problematic that a foreign nation is involved in our election system. Our democracy is only as good as people trust the results.”
The intelligence community concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 Presidential election, while President Trump has argued that his campaign was not involved in any collusion with Russia.
Bush called Russian President Vladimir Putin “zero-sum” at the summit.
“He can’t think, ‘How can we both win?’ He only thinks, ‘How do I win, you lose?’” Bush said.
“He’s got a chip on his shoulder,” Bush added. “The reason he does is because of the demise of the Soviet Union troubles him. Therefore, much of his moves (are) to regain Soviet hegemony.”
Earlier this week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Russia is already meddling in midterm Congressional elections this year, and the United States is not prepared to handle the meddling.
In an interview with Fox News in Bogota, Colombia, Tillerson said Russia is interfering in this year’s midterm elections and it will be difficult for the U.S. to prevent it.
“I don’t know that I would say we are better prepared, because the Russians will adapt, as well,” Tillerson said. “The point is, if it’s their intention to interfere, they are going to find ways to do that. We can take steps we can take but this is something that, once they decide they are going to do it, it’s very difficult to preempt it.”
“I think it’s important we just continue to say to Russia, ‘Look, you think we don’t see what you’re doing. We do see it and you need to stop. If you don’t, you’re going to just continue to invite consequences for yourself,’” Tillerson added.
Last month, CIA Director Mike Pompeo said that Russia will be meddling in this year’s midterm elections.
“I have every expectation that they will continue to try and do that,” Pompeo told the BBC. “But I’m confident that America will be able to have a free and fair election, (and) that we will push back in a way that is sufficiently robust that the impact they have on our election won’t be great.”