Sunday 12 August 2018 - 07:00

Russian inter-meddling led to Charlottesville attack, US lawmaker cites FBI

Story Code : 744061
Russian inter-meddling led to Charlottesville attack, US lawmaker cites FBI

Virginia Republican Representative Tom Garrett cited FBI Director Christopher Wray Saturday as saying that Russian hackers contributed to "fomenting the flames of what happened in Charlottesville."

"I sat in a closed session briefing probably two months ago about Charlottesville with the director of the FBI, amongst others, and asked if Russian inter-meddling had to do with fomenting the flames of what happened in Charlottesville," Garett told CNN. "I was told yes, it did."

The member of the House Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs committees had previously linked the attack to “foreign influence.”
"[Russia uses] events like this divisive racial fight ... and this is the sort of thing they do," Garett claimed.

Last year, a man with alleged neo-Nazi ties drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing local resident Heather Heyer during the "Unite the Right" rally.

The US also accuses Russia of meddling in the 2016 presidential election, an allegation denied by Moscow.

'Those perpetuating violence'
Hundreds of white nationalists are expected to gather near the White House on the anniversary of the violent rally Sunday evening, ahead of which US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have condemned racism.

"One year after Charlottesville, we remember the tragic events that took place and mourn the loss of life that day," Pence said in a statement posted to Twitter. "Bigotry, racism and hatred run counter to our most cherished values and have no place in American society."

"We condemn racism and violence in the strongest possible terms," Pence continued. "This weekend, Karen and I will pray for the victims of that tragic day and their families."

Counter-protesters are expected to stage dueling demonstrations in Washington, DC.

"The president also made clear that behavior by others of different militant perspectives are also unacceptable in our political debate and discourse,” Pence said. “I take issue with the fact that many in the national media spent more time criticizing the president’s words than they did criticizing those that perpetuated the violence to begin with.”

Charlottesville has been declared in a state of emergency by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam as it braces for the anniversary of the deadly clash.