A Democratic congressman from California on Monday said President-Elect Donald Trump’s pro-Russian posture helped him win “Electoral College votes that are controlled in Moscow.”
Rep. Brad Sherman’s statement came in response to a question by CNN anchor Carol Costello about alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election. She wanted to know if Sherman believed Trump himself was “in cahoots” with the Russians. He said probably not, but suggested that direct participation by Trump was irrelevant.
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“The fact is, in the campaign, Trump said things that would have hurt him — just a little bit — with American voters, but it helped him with the Electoral College votes that are controlled in Moscow,” he said. “And Moscow returned the favor.”
Sherman backed off after Costello challenged him on that preposterous assertion. He conceded that Moscow does not, in fact, control Electoral College votes and acknowledged that there were dozens of other factors in Trump’s surprise victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
“But had these leaks not come out, it’s hard not to think that Hillary wouldn’t have gotten another 100,000 votes in the upper Midwest,” he said.
The most damaging of those leaks, of course, uncovered communications among Clinton, her top campaign aides, and Democratic politicos that many American voters found repulsive — the veracity of the leaked material was never challenged. The Russians did not invent fake emails suggesting collusion between the Clinton campaign and the media or the nominally neutral Democratic National Committee during the party’s primaries.
The Russians also could not force the Clinton campaign to waste millions of dollars in campaign spending in cities like Chicago and New Orleans, in states that were locks for one campaign or the other, while deciding not to make a single stop in critical Wisconsin.
Sherman said Democrats should have called more attention to the source of the WikiLeaks emails that damaged Clinton’s prospects.
“Democrats were overconfident and didn’t want to rock the boat, didn’t want to make as big a deal out of this as it was,” he said.