by John Bowden, The HillDecember 2018

Defense Secretary James Mattis said Saturday that Russian operatives attempted to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections, apparently confirming for the first time that Moscow attempted to meddle in last month’s elections.

Mattis spoke of the relationship between the Trump administration and Russian President Vladimir Putin during an interview Saturday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.

There is no doubt the relationship has worsened. He tried again to muck around in our elections this last month, Click To Tweet

Mattis said the Trump administration and other NATO allies have pressed Russia repeatedly on un-democratic actions, but to no avail.

“This is a very complex situation because clearly Mr. Putin is a slow learner,” Mattis said. “He is not recognizing that what he is doing is actually creating the animosity against his people.”

Authoritarians believe strongly in group cohesiveness, and being loyal. They are highly energized when surrounded by a crowd of fellow-believers because it makes them feel powerful and supports their belief that ‘all the good people’ agree with them trust their leaders no matter what they say, and distrust whomever the leader says to distrust.

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