Cheney: Russian Cyberattack On Election Could Be Viewed As 'Act Of War'

There's "no doubt" Putin "tried to interfere with our fundamental democratic process," the former vice president says.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said in a speech that there’s “no question” Russia attempted to manipulate the U.S. presidential election and that many would consider that “an act of war.”

George W. Bush’s former No. 2 explained Monday at The Economic Times’ Global Business Summit in New Delhi that he thinks the “major concern” now facing America is national security. Cheney pointed to Russia’s “cyber warfare, a cyberattack on the United States — the fact that [Russian President Vladimir Putin] took his capabilities in the cyber area and used it to try to influence our election.”

There’s “no question that there was a very serious effort made by Mr. Putin and his government, his organization, to interfere in major ways with our basic, fundamental democratic processes,” Cheney said. “In some quarters, that would be considered an act of war.”

U.S. intelligence determined that hacking operations into emails of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman were orchestrated by Putin in a bid to sway the election toward Donald Trump.

Despite the hacking, “there’s not any argument at this stage that somehow the election of President Trump was not legitimate,” emphasized Cheney, who said he was “happy” to be a Trump supporter (though Cheney said his election was a “surprise to nearly everybody”). But the Republican also clearly distanced himself from Trump’s often positive assessments of Putin.

Cheney warned that the Russian autocrat has operated “in ways that none of his predecessors have done for the last 40 years” and said that his actions in the U.S. were profoundly concerning. “I would not underestimate the weight that we as Americans assign to the Russian attempts to interfere with our internal political processes.”

He warned that the world can expect more of the same from Putin. Cheney also sounded an alarm about Russia’s military aggression and said Putin would do everything in his power to “undermine” NATO.

“He has designs on the Baltic. He wanted Crimea. He took it.”

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