In an interview with NPR's David Greene, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said U.S. intelligence should investigate claims that Russia tried to insert itself into the 2016 presidential election. However, he added that voters didn't vote for Donald Trump because of propaganda or hacking -- they voted against the policies of the status quo.
I can tell you in my state of Kentucky, 70 percent of eastern Kentucky voted for Donald Trump not because the Russians told them to but because they were upset with the war on coal regulations coming from President Obama and from Hillary Clinton. So we voted our own self-interests. - U.S. Sen. Rand Paul
Paul added, "I think it'd be a mistake to blame the election on the Russians. But at the same time, I think any kind of threat of cyberterrorism we ought to take seriously."
That is not the way Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sees it. According to the New York Times, she believes the letter FBI Director James Comey sent to lawmakers over a week before the election and an “attack against our country” by Vladimir Putin played a significant role in her loss.
“Make no mistake, as the press is finally catching up to the facts, which we desperately tried to present to them during the last months of the campaign,” Clinton told a group of high-profile donors, who collectively contributed $1 billion to her effort. “This is not just an attack on me and my campaign, although that may have added fuel to it. This is an attack against our country. We are well beyond normal political concerns here. This is about the integrity of our democracy and the security of our nation.”
Except, there is no evidence that Russia in any way influenced how voters cast their ballots. At least, not any that has been released to the public. There is just a narrative being pushed in the mainstream media that is void of substance.
Hillary Clinton lost the same working class workers in states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania that Barack Obama won in 2008 and 2012. Neither Vladimir Putin nor Russian hackers are responsible for her not having a message for these voters. Hackers didn't stop Hillary from speaking to the millions who feel disenfranchised and marginalized by the current two-party system.
As an observer who did not have a presidential campaign running in the general election, Rand Paul believes we should be vigilante to cyber security threats. If there is evidence of Russian fingerprints on DNC or campaign hacks, he says we should look into it. However, he added that this is also a warning to the individual.
"Foreign countries are always trying to hack into each other, and I'm assuming that we do some of the same. So I don't know that it's extraordinary that Russia might be trying to do this. The reason I think we should investigate it is so we can protect our national security interests. And, you know, some of this should be a warning just to individuals. Apparently, the Hillary Clinton campaign was very sloppy with this. They, you know, one of their - I think their campaign manager sent a password via email, and, you know, every high school student is told not to do things like that, not to..." - U.S. Sen. Rand Paul
When asked if he was saying the Clinton camp invited hacks from foreign players, Paul said, "No. I'm saying that it was sloppy work, and we all need to learn from people who - you know, you're not supposed to send your password by email. So you cause yourself to be vulnerable to anybody, whether it's Russia, China, or thieves."
You can listen to the full interview here, including his opposition to John Bolton possibly receiving a State Department appointment, the expansion of executive powers, and overreaching and overbearing federal regulations.