Trump’s State Dept. not spending any of the money allocated to stop Putin’s election meddling (Details)

Photo: Jorge Silva / AFP / Getty Images

Trump’s executive branch continues to show cowardice, or perhaps complicity, in efforts to stop Russian meddling. While Congress has allotted the State Department over $120 million to fight the cyber warfare, zero has been spent.

How is this lack of spending affecting the spread of propaganda? The Global Engagement Center, which is tasked with combatting Russia’s meddling efforts, does not have any Russian-speaking analysts.

In late 2016, Congress ordered the Pentagon to hand over $60 million to the State Dept. in order to curb the spread of Chinese and Russian propaganda. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ignored the money for seven months until the Pentagon said it was too late to send it over.

Over the next fiscal year, another $60 million was available to the State Dept. for the same purpose. After five months of stalling, they finally agreed to accept $40 million. That money won’t arrive until April.

With midterm elections just around the corner, that leaves little time for the U.S. to prepare for an onslaught of foreign propaganda. It’s unknown if the State Dept. has any plans in place to spend the money or do it effectively.

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According to an Axios poll just released on Sunday, most Americans do not think Trump will make an effort to combat interference in future elections. According to a USA Today poll, 3/4 of Americans believe that Russia will continue its interference.

“If it’s their intention to interfere, they’re going to find ways to do that,” Secretary of State Tillerson said last month. “And we can take steps we can take, but this is something that once they decide they are going to do it, it’s very difficult to pre-empt it.”


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