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Kamala Harris Slams Donald Trump's Russia Connections, Says Foreign Powers Are 'Infecting the White House Like Malware'

As Senator Kamala Harris launched her campaign for the presidency on Sunday, she issued what seemed to be a rebuke of President Donald Trump and his connections to Russia.

Speaking before a rally that drew a larger crowd than the launch of Barack Obama’s campaign for president 10 years ago, Harris noted that foreign powers are “infecting the White House like malware.”

It was a pointed comment at a time when foreign influence and the use of cyberattacks are some of the most contentious topics. Harris has been a key member of the Senate intelligence committee, which is investigating whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

During her time on the committee, Harris has refrained from accusing Trump of any wrongdoing, but she has slammed Russia for trying to turn Americans against one another and called Moscow an adversary.

“I think we're all clear that Russia attacked our country during the 2016 election and that they are continuing to attack us today. Russia not only attacked one of our most sacred democratic values, which is a free and fair election, but also, I believe, our very American identity,” Harris said during a Senate intelligence committee hearing in August.

gettyimages-1090433166-594x594 Senator Kamala Harris speaks to supporters during her presidential campaign launch rally on January 27 in Oakland, California. Mason Trinca/Getty Images

“The Russian government came into the house of the American family and manipulated us. We must take this seriously in that context and understand that when we debate as we did in 2016, one of the most important debates that we have, which is who'll be the leader of our country, the Russians exploited our nation's discourse to play into our deepest fear,” Harris continued.

Researchers have noted that Russia used every social media platform available in an effort to influence the 2016 presidential race. 

Meanwhile, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia is gaining speed. Last Friday, longtime Republican political operative and Trump ally Roger Stone was indicted for lying to Congress about the Trump campaign’s use of emails stolen by Russia to hurt the campaign of then-candidate Hillary Clinton.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who, like Harris, is a Democrat from California, noted that “it’s very interesting to see the kinds of people the president of the U.S. surrounded himself with.” She that it is “bothersome” that Trump appears to be giving Russian President Vladimir Putin much of what he wants, including questioning the value of NATO. 

On Sunday, the Trump administration lifted sanctions on companies linked to Kremlin ally Oleg Deripaska, who was sanctioned over Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Reports have demonstrated that the Treasury Department’s decision will benefit Deripaska and, by extension, his ally Putin.

Shares in two of Deripaska’s companies, Rusal and En+, shot up by around 10 percent on Monday after the sanctions were lifted. Some critics have pointed to the Treasury Department’s decision as evidence that the Trump administration is implementing policies that will directly benefit Russia. Even 136 House Republicans broke ranks and voted against the lifting of sanctions. 

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