Nikki Haley breaks with Trump on Russia, says election meddling is "warfare"

Breaking with the Trump administration's narrative, Haley says the U.S. needs to "step up"

Published October 20, 2017 9:23AM (EDT)

 (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said that nations who interfere in American elections "is warfare" on Thursday. Haley's words break with those of President Donald Trump who has downplayed any Russian interference largely because of the ongoing scandals his administration has been impeded by since taking office.

"I will tell you that when a country can come interfere in another country’s elections, that is warfare," Haley said on Thursday in New York during a forum hosted by the George W. Bush institute, Politico reported. "It really is, because you’re making sure that the democracy shifts from what the people want to giving out that misinformation."

She added, "And we didn’t just see it here. You can look at France and you can look at other countries. They are doing this everywhere. This is their new weapon of choice. And we have to make sure we get in front of it."

Trump has repeatedly questioned the legitimacy of any Russian attempts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election, even as an ongoing investigation is being conducted into Russia's actions, as well as potential collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russian government. Trump has also said that reports of his campaign colluding with anyone associated with the Russian government, are completely fabricated.

Trump has however signed sanctions against Russia, which was passed overwhelmingly passed by Congress over the summer and also levied new sanctions on Iran and North Korea. Trump has also expelled Russian diplomats from the U.S. as both he and Russian President Vladimir Putin have gone back and forth with diplomatic strains.

"I find it fascinating because the Russians, God bless 'em, they’re saying, 'Why are Americans anti-Russian?' And why have we done the sanctions? Well, don’t interfere in our elections and we won’t be anti-Russian," Haley said. "And I think we have to be so hard on this and we have to hold them accountable and we have to get the private sector to understand they are responsible for this, too. We all have to step up from this event."

By Charlie May

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2016 Election President Donald Trump Russia Russia Investigation Trump Russia Scandal U.s. United Nations