GOP lawmaker: FBI has evidence Russian bots were fanning flames before Charlottesville violence

Republican Rep. Tom Garrett, who represents Charlottesville, Virginia, said Monday that FBI officials told h...

Posted: Aug 14, 2018 10:52 AM
Updated: Aug 14, 2018 10:52 AM

Republican Rep. Tom Garrett, who represents Charlottesville, Virginia, said Monday that FBI officials told him and other members of Congress that Russian actors were attempting to sow discord around the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville last year before the event took place.

Garrett revealed the information publicly for the first time in an interview on CNN over the weekend and clarified separately that the activity took place before the rally.

2017 Charlottesville white nationalist rally

Charlottesville

Continents and regions

Discrimination

Eastern Europe

Europe

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government organizations - US

North America

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

Politics

Protests and demonstrations

Racism and racial discrimination

Right-wing extremism

Russia

Societal issues

Society

Southeastern United States

The Americas

Tom Garrett

United States

US Department of Justice

US federal departments and agencies

US federal government

US political parties

US Republican Party

Virginia

White supremacy and neo-Nazism

US Congress

US House of Representatives

"It was before. Via bots, the internet, and social media," Garrett said. "I'm frustrated because either both Republicans and Democrats do not understand what the Russians are actually doing, or they don't want to tell the truth about it, or both."

Garrett's recollection of the meeting with FBI officials was confirmed by fellow Rep. Morgan Griffith, a Virginia Republican who was sitting next to him during the briefing. Griffith recalls "jumping out of his chair" when he heard the news. Garrett asked if the information was classified, and FBI officials told him it was not.

Both congressmen say the FBI was clear that the interference was contained to social media posts and the internet and that they were told that there was no evidence that there was any Russian influence on the ground.

Two sources connected to the Senate Intelligence Committee also confirmed that there is evidence of Russian activity around the Charlottesville rally. They point out that the discord was not all connected specifically to the Unite the Right Rally, but more about the debate surrounding the removal of Confederate statues across the country. The purpose of the Unite the Right Rally was to protest the removal of a statute of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from downtown Charlottesville.

Garrett, who sits on the House Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs committees, argues that the information is an example of how the federal government is not paying close enough attention to the broad implications of the Russian threat.

"Oligarchs and people like Putin use things like this racial divisive fight, which ignores the commonalities we have regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, this is the sort of thing they do," Garrett said. "As a member of homeland security, seriously that's what scares me most."

Garrett's comments were echoed by Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican, who tweeted a response to the CNN report, saying, "Few Americans understand Putin's agents are now picking at the scabs of every cultural skirmish we have -- from race to guns to media tribes."

Huntsville
Few Clouds
46° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 42°
Florence
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 50°
Fayetteville
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 40°
Decatur
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 43°
Scottsboro
Few Clouds
43° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 43°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 232506

Reported Deaths: 3457
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson30318491
Mobile19260356
Tuscaloosa12446148
Madison12204146
Montgomery12000232
Shelby971276
Baldwin819984
Lee750464
Morgan610447
Calhoun5964113
Etowah585764
Marshall579453
Houston503338
DeKalb460835
Cullman409636
Limestone400844
St. Clair396055
Elmore391061
Lauderdale378353
Walker348096
Talladega334042
Colbert294341
Jackson290524
Blount275436
Autauga261739
Franklin243633
Coffee230315
Dale225454
Dallas219631
Russell21753
Chilton216137
Covington212333
Escambia194031
Tallapoosa168590
Chambers167548
Clarke154919
Pike154714
Marion133935
Winston122523
Lawrence121436
Geneva11678
Marengo116424
Barbour116010
Pickens114118
Bibb113617
Butler113341
Randolph99521
Cherokee98524
Hale91531
Washington89818
Clay88823
Henry8386
Fayette83116
Lowndes78529
Monroe76811
Cleburne74214
Crenshaw70030
Macon69420
Bullock68919
Conecuh66814
Perry6686
Wilcox62318
Lamar6227
Sumter55322
Choctaw41713
Greene39917
Coosa3064
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 340476

Reported Deaths: 4266
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby45436634
Davidson40436402
Knox17413137
Rutherford16668150
Hamilton15723135
Williamson1050373
Sumner9016134
Wilson692474
Out of TN668748
Montgomery614481
Sullivan594689
Putnam572279
Washington550298
Maury541957
Blount508055
Madison5064104
Bradley476833
Sevier458530
Unassigned416314
Robertson352550
Tipton345136
Hamblen328257
Dyer307149
Gibson297761
Greene281868
Anderson271525
Dickson264427
Coffee260841
Carter250951
Bedford250328
Obion250347
Lawrence249632
Cumberland240035
McMinn232255
Warren226517
Hardeman220337
Roane217723
Loudon216517
Jefferson212631
Fayette212137
Weakley205934
Lauderdale198721
Monroe197042
Franklin189631
Trousdale189012
Wayne179310
Hawkins178234
Henderson178030
Macon175727
Hardin170925
White166417
Marshall163117
Carroll162832
Haywood159129
Rhea155530
Cocke153928
Overton150034
Campbell146521
Cheatham146316
Lincoln144413
Henry141517
McNairy137232
Smith136919
Johnson136721
Giles134242
Fentress116219
Lake11445
Bledsoe11405
Crockett110925
Hickman109417
DeKalb108220
Marion103117
Chester97919
Scott9407
Grainger91314
Decatur91012
Unicoi77123
Claiborne7509
Benton74914
Grundy73414
Lewis70411
Cannon6962
Union6865
Jackson6579
Morgan6546
Humphreys6407
Polk62914
Houston56819
Stewart54614
Clay52418
Sequatchie4895
Meigs45912
Perry45520
Moore3652
Pickett36512
Van Buren3382
Hancock1453

Community Events