Based on questions and statements I have heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country — and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.
First of all, to deflect from the allegations of Russian interference. Second of all, to drive a wedge between the United States and Ukraine, which Russia wants to essentially get back into its sphere of influence. Thirdly, to besmirch Ukraine and its political leadership, to degrade and erode support for Ukraine from other key partners in Europe and elsewhere.
The goal of the Russians was really to put whoever became the president, by trying to tip their hands on one side of the scale, under a cloud. So if secretary, former first lady, former senator Clinton had been elected as president, as indeed many expected in the run-up to the election in 2016, she too would have had major questions about her legitimacy. And I think that what we’re seeing here as a result of all these narratives, this is exactly what the Russian government was hoping for.