Dispatch October 3, 2018

RELEASE: The Origins of Russia’s Broad Political Assault on the United States


Washington, D.C. — In a new report, the Center for American Progress examines the origins of Russia’s political assault on the United States and shows that it was part of a much broader and more coordinated effort than has previously been understood.

Based a review of publicly available documents, the report finds that there were five lines of effort to influence the election and that all five began or accelerated in 2014:

  • Information warfare
  • Cyberintrusion
  • Courting conservative institutions
  • Supporting extreme and destabilizing political movements
  • Voter manipulation

“There are two significant implications of these findings,” said James Lamond, the report’s author and a senior policy adviser at CAP. “First, the fact that these five lines of effort all began at the same time suggests that there was a moment when a specific decision was made, meaning that attack was broader and more coordinated than is commonly understood. Second, the decision appears to have been made in response to the diplomatic and economic isolation Russia faced following the Ukraine crisis, demonstrating the degree to which sanctions can be a powerful tool to influence Russia’s behavior.”

This report aims to further develop our understanding of this historic and ongoing attack against the United States and calls on Congress to pursue a two-pronged policy approach that both applies pressure on Russia via additional sanctions and improves the United States’ defensive capabilities against further Russian interference.

Read the report: “The Origins of Russia’s Broad Political Assault on the United States” by James Lamond.

For more information, or to speak to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org or 202-478-6327.