Russia is already trying to hack the 2018 midterm elections, going after Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), one of the most vulnerable Senate Democrats up for reelection this year. That’s the key takeaway from a piece published Thursday afternoon by the Daily Beast. Reporters Andrew Desiderio and Kevin Poulsen used a combination of court records and internet sleuthing to identify that malicious emails to a McCaskill aide were sent from a server that likely belongs to Fancy Bear, the same Russian intelligence group that did the 2016 hacks. The attack, launched in the second half of last year, seems to have failed. The evidence in the Daily Beast piece that this attack was launched by Russians is reasonably compelling. If it’s correct, then this is the first publicly identified case of Russian interference in a specific 2018 election campaign.
What’s more, the report comes two days after President Trump said Russians would likely be “pushing very hard for the Democrats” in 2018. Not only does this appear to be false — according to the Daily Beast, Russia is already working to help Republicans — but in fact, they’re getting involved in a smartly targeted race, one tight enough that it could end up mattering to the outcome.
You’d only want to do that if you wanted Republicans to maintain control of the Senate.