[Ed. – Ah, but even that means they conspired to elect Trump in 2016.]
The Daily Beast reached out to more than a dozen officials in Western governments who have worked on the issue of election interference in the past two years. While some cautioned against the idea that Russia is sitting out the 2018 midterms entirely, none of those officials could provide specific examples of Russian operations to interfere in this year’s elections.
According to a former senior U.S. cybersecurity official, the Kremlin enjoyed such runaway success in 2016—encouraging American political chaos and helping elect Donald Trump—that substantial interference in the midterm elections isn’t necessary. Instead, the Russians can focus on other targets, such as influencing the European parliamentary elections in the spring of 2019.
“They’re going to adjust their tradecraft and figure out other ways to weigh in without being so obviously Russian as to generate antibodies to their interference,” said Andrew Grotto, who oversaw cybersecurity issues for both Barack Obama and Donald Trump’s National Security Councils.
Grotto said that Russian hacking related to the congressional elections carried the risk of jeopardizing whatever they might be planning for Europe next spring.