George W. Bush said on Thursday that there is “clear evidence Russians meddled” in the 2016 election, although he refused to name Donald Trump directly or indicate that the allegedly meddling helped Trump in any way, MSN is reporting.
The former president is in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, this week for an economic summit hosted by the conservative think-tank Milken Institute. Asked about the subject of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, which is the subject of multiple lawsuits and criminal probes, including one headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and which is appearing to edge closer to Donald Trump himself, Bush made it clear that he believes there’s strong evidence of interference.
“There’s pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled.”
And, while being careful not to name Donald Trump directly, Bush also admitted that he’s not sure if the alleged meddling helped secure Trump’s eventual victory.
“Whether (Russia) affected the outcome is another question.”
Regardless of whether or not alleged Russian meddling had anything to do with the outcome of the election, Bush is still concerned.
“It’s problematic that a foreign nation is involved in our election system. Our democracy is only as good as people trust the results.”
— The Hill (@thehill) February 8, 2018
As to why Vladimir Putin and Russian agents may have meddled in the election, Bush thinks the reason is one of jealousy. Specifically, he says that Putin is still angry about the fall of the Soviet Union, and that any of his actions — such as turning Americans against one another — is an attempt at bringing back the Soviet Union, or something resembling it.
“Therefore, much of his moves (are) to regain Soviet hegemony… That’s why NATO is very important.”
As for Trump, the 45th president has not found much of a friend in the 43rd, even though the two are both Republicans. Bush has repeatedly found himself at odds with the Trump administration on various issues. In fact, as The Hill reports, Bush also had some words to say about Trump’s immigration policy on Thursday.
“Americans don’t want to pick cotton at 105 degrees, but there are people who want to put food on their family’s tables and are willing to do that. We ought to say thank you and welcome them.”
Similarly, Bush takes exception to the Trump administration’s hard-line stance on so-called Dreamers — that is, people who immigrated to the U.S. illegally as children, brought here by their parents. Bush doesn’t believe the program should be ended.
“America’s their home.”
Bush’s remarks came from a conversation he was having with Milken Institute namesake Michael Milken, according to the Fresno Bee, who in the 1990’s served time in prison for selling so-called “junk bonds.”