Harris: Russian election interference exposed race as nation's 'Achilles heel'

 Harris: Russian election interference exposed race as nation's 'Achilles heel'
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Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — House passes sweeping Pelosi bill to lower drug prices | Senate confirms Trump FDA pick | Trump officials approve Medicaid work requirements in South Carolina Sanders endorses Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur for Katie Hill's former House seat Kamala Harris dropped out, but let's keep her mental health plan alive MORE (D-Calif.), a presidential candidate, said in an interview broadcast Sunday that Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election made clear that race is the “Achilles heel” of the U.S.

“[T]hey decide to attack what is the strongest pillar of a democracy, which is free and open elections … And they tried out a bunch of different things. And you know what caught heat? The issue of race. So Russia exposed America's Achilles heel,” Harris said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

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“And all of a sudden then, guess what? For those who want to marginalize the conversation about race and racial inequities and say, ‘Oh, well, that's identity politics or that's this or that's that.’ Guess what? Now it is also a national security issue. And we need to deal with it. And we need to deal with it,” she added.

Harris added that “racism is real in this country” and that it predated the Trump presidency.

“The reality is that these are forms of hate that are not new to our country, which have, in the history of our country, taken lethal proportion. And still today take on lethal proportion. And so I believe that the conversation has to be about how we are going to speak truth about the history, and then address it,” she told NBC’s Chuck ToddCharles (Chuck) David ToddChuck Todd challenges Cruz after senator pushes theory that Ukraine meddled in election Retiring House Democrat says a Trump reelection would be a 'nightmare scenario' for Congress Cruz on House impeachment inquiry: 'This is 'kangaroo court' MORE.

Harris tied these issues to both to the massacre of 22 people in El Paso, Texas, last weekend, in which the suspect has told police he targeted “Mexicans,” and a series of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids across Mississippi last Wednesday in which nearly 700 people were detained.

“When I look at what's happening now, Chuck, just most recently, with the announcement of the raids from months ago, much less what happened in El Paso, to the most recent raids, where hundreds of people were picked up,” she said.

“Many were released because they probably shouldn't have been picked up in the first place. People are afraid in our country,” she added.