After the administration blocked his initially scheduled appearance, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland is now reportedly set to testify before the House under subpoena.
Over the course of almost a year, Rudy Giuliani, a private citizen serving as a personal lawyer to Donald Trump, allegedly pushed the Ukrainian government to launch an investigation into one of Trump’s most prominent potential political opponents and pursued a conspiracy theory about work done by Trump’s convicted former campaign manager Paul Manafort. These efforts are detailed in a partially-redacted whistleblower complaint that was released to the public on September 26, 2019. Giuliani has called the complaint “total nonsense” and denied all wrongdoing.
For months, a scandal of immense proportion has been bubbling below the surface, involving Rudy Giuliani and President Donald Trump trying to pressure Ukraine into opening investigations involving American citizens. In the era when there are new scandals on a weekly basis, this fairly intricate and convoluted plan had largely stayed below the surface of most political conversations in Washington. However, with the recent revelation that this plot may be at the center of the whistleblower complaint that the Trump administration is withholding from Congress, the scandal has boiled over.
America is also not the only target for Russian influence operations; democracies in Europe and around the world are combating Russian election interference. Some of these countries have dealt with this interference better than others, and there are important lessons to be derived from these experiences. With these factors in mind, this report outlines Russian election influence operations and evaluates the responses from stakeholders. It determines the lessons the United States can learn from these democracies, including what works and what does not when confronting Russian interference.
A new brief from the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s Moscow Project shows that, based on public reporting and indictments by special counsel Robert Mueller, there are at least 272 known contacts between Trump’s team and Russia-linked operatives during the campaign and transition, including at least 38 meetings.
Russia is a relatively weak state on the international stage. A former great power, today it has a gross domestic product roughly equal to that of New York state; this feeds into the country’s insecurity about its role in the world and its economic and military strength compared with those of its chief competitors. Russia knows it cannot compete with the West on an even playing field. Thus, it has developed a shadowy, asymmetric strategy to subvert opponents and alter the global status quo. A key part of this approach is the country’s strategic use of ambiguity. As the United States responds to these attacks, and seeks to prevent future ones, it must take into account that public transparency, as well as its relationships with allies, are integral to any effective response.