I’m writing in response to recent media reports that Russian intelligence agents were using my identity to spread misinformation during the 2016 election cycle.
In case you missed it, the Washington Post published yet another story about Russia’s attempts to interfere in last year’s election. The latest report is about a completely made-up email exchange between me and former US Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The FBI and Washington Post have both investigated this and concluded that the storyline has no basis in reality. It was simply made up by the Russians.
Although I’m happy to see independent sources acknowledging the truth, it was still chilling to read about this. We’ve all heard about Russia’s efforts to disrupt the election and help Donald Trump. It has been all over the news for months, and all 17 of our intelligence agencies agree that it happened. What’s new here is that the Russians were using the identity of an American citizen in an attempt to harm the United States.
For many, this will feel like “just another Russia story”. But for me this is a deeply personal violation. I’m a proud public servant, and I’ve been honored to serve at the local, state, and federal level over the last two decades. I love this country, and I’ve tried every day to make it even stronger. That’s why it’s absolutely infuriating to learn that the Russians would use my name in their efforts to harm our country.
This is extremely serious stuff, and I hope that every patriotic American will take a moment to let this sink in. Please understand that the Russians were not really targeting me personally. They are willing to use or harm any of us in order to achieve their goals.
I know that many of you are getting tired of the endless stream of breaking news, but we simply can’t get de-sensitized to this. Too much is at stake — our freedom to choose our own leaders, our trust in our legal and political systems, and our unique position of leadership and credibility in the world.
Looking forward, I cannot imagine these perpetrators will stop unless our elected leaders take decisive action to combat and more severely punish them. That’s why I hope you’ll ask your Senators and Congressmen whether they have been covering up what’s been happening, or whether they’re sincerely fighting to protect their fellow Americans. If in doubt, I suggest that you consider replacing them with folks who will be 110% on the side of protecting the American people.
To those of you who have reached out to me, thank you for your support during this strange and difficult time. I want you to know that I’m OK. But most importantly, I want you to know that I still believe this is the greatest country in the world, and I’m not ever giving up on it.