CNN's Brian Stelter Casts Russian Hacking Scare As A "National Emergency"

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On Sunday's edition of 'Reliable Sources' on CNN, host Brian Stelter wondered if the alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 election constituted a "national emergency."

"I mean, here's something I've been asking myself. Julia, we're talking about a candidate who's lost in a historic way in terms of the popular vote but clearly won in the Electoral College. Is this something of a national emergency? And are journalists afraid to say so because they're going to sound partisan?" Stelter asked.

Julia Ioffe of Politico responded: "You know, I've been thinking about this because it does feel like we're on the verge of something potentially awful, and Trump seems to be taking us there daily with his cabinet picks, with his statements, you know, talk about sowing chaos. We have elected, you know, the chaos-sower in chief, you know, undermining the validity of intelligence reports, undermining the work of the press, of various government institutions, of democratic institutions."

Stelter posed the same question to David Sanger, national security reporter at the New York Times: "Russian interference in an election, is this a national emergency?"

Sanger replied: "I can't recall another moment in history, Brian, where we have seen a foreign government interfere with an American presidential election. Now, we need to a little bit of perspective here. It has been not unknown for the United States, including through the CIA and others to try to influence foreign elections at various moments. And you have to remember that President Putin rightly or wrongly blames Hillary Clinton for interfering --in his mind-- with the parliamentary election in Russia in 2011 when she turned out statements saying the election was not free and fair, and it wasn't. And that started up some street protests and you know it turned out Vladimir Putin doesn't like street protests. So there is an element here of Putin probably believing that he is just giving as good as he was getting. We can argue whether that's legitimate or not."

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