Russia Helped Stoke Racial Hatred in Charlottesville, Lawmaker Says

Congressman Tom Garrett said on CNN on Saturday, citing a conversation with the FBI director that Russia had "fanned the flames" of racial discord in Charlottesville.

"I sat in a closed session briefing about two months ago about Charlottesville with the director of the FBI," Garrett said, according to a CNN video. "[I] asked if Russian intermeddling had to do with fomenting the flames of what happened in Charlottesville. I was told, 'Yes, it did.' I asked, 'Is this information classified?' They said, 'No, it's not.'" Garrett said he waited until today to go public with this information.

"This is what happens, Russian intermeddling is seeking to pit Americans against Americans to undermine confidence in Western-style Democracies," Garrett continued. "It's done so in the Baltic states, it's done so in Western Europe, it will continue to do so."

"They use events like this, the divisive racial fight which really ignores the commonality that Americans have with each other regardless of race or ethnicity or religion, and this is the sort of thing they do. And as a member of homeland security, that's what scares me the most," Garrett said. "That Americans will be pitted against each other over real differences, but that are minimal in the grand scheme of things."

Stickers decorate a street sign near a makeshift memorial for Heather Heyer, who was killed one year ago during a deadly clash, August 11, 2018 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Congressman Garrett revealed on CNN that Russian meddling helped fan the flames of Charlottesville. Win McNamee/Getty Images