Republican Congressman Tom Garrett talked Russian meddling on CNN on Saturday — but not in the 2016 presidential election. Rather, Garrett claimed that the Russians had meddled to stir the racial tensions that sparked a violent rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last year.
VIDEO: On @CNN @RepTomGarrett says the FBI Director told him directly in a briefing two months ago that Russian inter meddling had to do with fanning the flames in Charlottesville. pic.twitter.com/rorpfeWA95
— Ryan Nobles (@ryanobles) August 11, 2018
Garrett explained that he got the information — which he said was not classified —during a briefing aimed at preparing for the one-year anniversary of the unrest that killed a woman in Charlottesville in 2017.
“I sat in a closed session briefing probably two months ago about Charlottesville with the director of the FBI,” Garrett said, “and asked if Russian inter-meddling had to do with fomenting the flames of what happened in Charlottesville. I was told yes, it did.”
The Virginia congressman added that it was typical of Russia to use underlying tensions already present within the population to manipulate people. “They use events like this divisive racial fight … and this is the sort of thing they do. As a member of Homeland Security, that’s what scares me most, that Americans will be pitted against Americans over real differences, but that are minimal in the grand scheme of things.”
Garrett concluded by calling for Americans to focus on what makes us similar rather than getting mired in our differences. He said, “We are an American family of brothers and sisters regardless of religion and race, and we need to focus on that.”
Follow Virginia on Twitter.