Dem senator: 'Hard to say' Russian meddling did not affect election outcome

Dem senator: 'Hard to say' Russian meddling did not affect election outcome
© Greg Nash

Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.) said in an interview broadcast Sunday that “it’s hard to say” Russia’s election meddling did not affect the outcome of the 2016 election, pointing to Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPavlich: Mueller’s indictment of the media Poll shows 36 percent support Trump's reelection, 43 percent prefer generic Democrat How the Clinton machine flooded the FBI with Trump-Russia dirt … until agents bit MORE's popular vote win.

“It's hard to say that this didn't affect the outcome. It was an exceptionally close election. I'll remind you one candidate won the popular vote. The other candidate won the electoral vote,” Coons told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

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“But it's not yet clear whether the Russians succeeded in actually changing votes. What's clear is that they spent millions and millions of dollars and had hundreds of people working in a troll farm in St. Petersburg to intentionally undermine one candidate, Hillary Clinton, and support another, Donald Trump.”

Coons’s comments come after the Justice Department last week announced indictments against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups as part of the special counsel’s probe into Russia's election interference.

The intelligence community in a declassified report released last year concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin called for an influence campaign aimed at helping President TrumpDonald John TrumpCoast Guard chief: 'Unacceptable' that service members must rely on food pantries, donations amid shutdown Dem lawmaker apologizes after saying it's never been legal in US to force people to work for free Grassley to hold drug pricing hearing MORE win the White House. The report, however, did not assess the impact of Russia’s actions.