Former President George W. Bush this week said there was “pretty clear evidence” that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election.
Bush remarks about Russian interference came while speaking at a summit in Abu Dhabi, at a time when tensions are rising between President Trump and U.S. intelligence agencies over the investigation into Russian meddling.
“There’s pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled,” Bush said, according to The Associated Press. “Whether they affected the outcome is another question.”
“It’s problematic that a foreign nation is involved in our election system,” he added, the news agency reported. “Our democracy is only as good as people trust the results.”
U.S. intelligence concluded last year that Russia interfered in the election, and evidence that Russian operatives used social media platforms to influence voter opinions continues to build.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday that Russia is already attempting to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections.
There are several ongoing investigations into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to win the election, probes which Trump has repeatedly referred to as “witch hunts.”
President Donald Trump, whom the Russians tried to help get elected, has frequently hedged on whether he thinks Russia interfered on his behalf. Last year, for example, he said that Russian President Vladimir Putin was being completely sincere when he insisted that he didn’t order the hacking of the DNC.
Trump earlier this month declined to impose new sanctions on Russia over the meddling, saying that the threat of increased sanctions is already “serving as a deterrent” to the Kremlin.