Only in America: Trump administration granted $AUD155 million to fight Russian election interference – spends $0
The State Department had been given $AUD77 million by Congress to counter anti-democratic propaganda by Russia and China at the end of the Obama administration but it took Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson seven months to decide whether to spend any of the money, according to The New York Times.
When they finally made a request for the money in September 2017, it was denied because the financial year had ended. Another $AUD77 million was allocated this year, but it took five months before the departments agreed on a final figure – which in the end was just $AUD51 million, a third of what they could have had.
President Trump has repeatedly said he doubts the Russians interfered in the 2016 election, famously calling special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into whether or not his campaign colluded with Russia a “WITCH HUNT!”
But other experts say it is possible to campaign against outside interference – if you have a Secretary of State and a President willing to support it.
It seems Trump has come around to the idea, announcing this week his administration is working to counteract any interference in elections in 2018.
We’ll be holding our breath for that one.