Schiff: Dems failed to convey why Russian meddling matters

Schiff: Dems failed to convey why Russian meddling matters
© Greg Nash

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee hammered his party for failing to adequately warn voters last year about the threat posed by Russian election meddling.

In an interview with former Obama administration adviser David Axelrod on "The Axe Files" podcast, Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffConservatives leery of FBI deal on informant No Dems invited to attend meeting on Russia docs Trump officials brief Congress on election cyber threats behind closed doors MORE (D-Calif.) warned that the Kremlin is likely to try to interfere future U.S. elections and that America must be prepared to deal with another Russian influence campaign.

"Where I think Democrats really fell down on the job is, we failed to persuade the country why they should care," Schiff said.

"That's not a mistake we can afford to make again, and probably one of the most important things I think that can come out of our investigation is an appreciation for what the Russians did, how they did that, certainly if they had the help of U.S. persons affiliated with the Trump campaign."

The House and Senate intelligence panels are conducting separate investigations into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, as well as possible ties between members of President Trump's campaign and Moscow. FBI Director James Comey acknowledged last month that his agency is conducting its own probe.

A report by the intelligence community made public in January concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence and hacking campaign aimed at helping Trump's presidential bid. Trump and his associates have repeatedly denied any involvement in or ties to the Russian efforts.

The U.S. intelligence community has also warned that Russia is likely to pursue similar efforts in elections in Europe this year, as well as in future U.S. elections. Schiff said that the U.S. must undertake the challenge of working to prevent future election meddling on the part of Russia and warned that a future attack could be worse.

"How do we inoculate ourselves from this in the future?" Schiff said. "Because one of the key conclusions of the intelligence community is that the Russians will do this again. This was not a one-off."