Rosenstein: Americans are too 'savvy' to fall for Russian ads

Rosenstein: Americans are too 'savvy' to fall for Russian ads
© Greg Nash

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in an interview on WTOP's Target USA podcast that he doesn't think Americans would be influenced by ads placed by Russian agents on Facebook and other platforms.

In comments first reported by The Washington Post, Rosenstein said that Americans are too "savvy" to be influenced by such efforts from foreign governments.

"You know, American citizens are pretty savvy, and they decide who to vote for. I don’t think they’d be influenced by ads posted by foreign governments," Rosenstein said. "I think people are more thoughtful about that in the way that they make their decisions."

He added that many Americans need to understand the difference between foreign agents attempting to influence the election and actually succeeding.


"I think what people need to keep in mind is that there’s a distinction between people trying to sway American elections and succeeding in swaying American elections," Rosenstein said.

"I think one of our responsibilities is to make sure that people understand, you know, what the risks are, but also that they make their own determinations," he added.

Rosenstein, who is overseeing Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation into Russia's election intereference, cautioned that regardless of whether or not a foreign power was successful in influencing the election, action still must be taken in response.

"Nonetheless, you know, if we have foreign countries that are seeking to interfere in our elections, I think we need to take appropriate action in response," he said.

In early October, it was revealed that 10 million Americans saw political ads purchased by Russian accounts during the 2016 presidential campaign. Earlier this month, Facebook turned over 3,000 ads purchased by Russians on its platform, while Twitter announced Thursday that it would ban ads from Russian-funded media outlets.

“This decision was based on the retrospective work we've been doing around the 2016 U.S. election and the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that both RT and Sputnik attempted to interfere with the election on behalf of the Russian government,” Twitter said in a blog post Thursday morning. “We did not come to this decision lightly, and are taking this step now as part of our ongoing commitment to help protect the integrity of the user experience on Twitter.”


This article was updated to include the name of the podcast on which Rosenstein made the remarks.