Speed Reads

eyes on russia

Former CIA director says collusion isn't the only thing that should worry Americans about Russia and Trump

Michael Hayden, who led the CIA under former President George W. Bush, has had no reservations about speaking his mind on the topic of Russia. While Hayden wasn't willing to definitively say if he believes Donald Trump's presidential campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election, he did tell Politico's "Off Message" podcast that their agendas certainly saw a "convergence."

"There is an eerie and uncomfortable echo between some of the things the president tweets, the different points of emphasis on Fox News, the thematic stories in the alt-right media, and Russian bots," Hayden explained. "I don't have to create collusion here: Each for their own purposes are well-served by creating deeper divisions within American society. The president, to play to his base; Fox News, for ratings; the alt-right, because they have a conspiratorial view of everything; and the Russians, to mess with our heads."

Trump has emphatically denied any sort of organization between his campaign and Moscow, tweeting "WITCH HUNT" on Tuesday morning for the 24th time since his inauguration. A USA Today/Suffolk University poll out Monday, though, shows that fewer than 1 in 5 Americans doubt Russia made a serious attempt to meddle in the election. Americans are split on whether Russia actually affected the outcome of the election, however, 42 percent with saying it did and 44 percent saying it didn't.

There is no doubt in Hayden's mind about Russia's intentions. "The overall objective of the Russian effort was to mess with our heads and erode confidence," he said. "And they decided by mid-summer that the very best way they could mess with our heads was to make more people vote for Donald Trump, period." Listen to the full interview here.