Christy McCormick, a Republican commission member, said in a statement the next day that Russian interference was a hoax used by the federal government to gain access to state-run election systems. “This declassified report was not about the November elections; it was about politics,” said McCormick, who is also a member of the bipartisan Election Assistance Commission, which helps states administer elections. “Connecting the allegations in the report to the election administration process and asserting that it rose to the level of interference in our elections is a gross and incorrect characterization.”
Rather than accept the findings of the intelligence agencies, McCormick turned to John McAfee, the eccentric founder of the McAfee antivirus software company, as an expert on the question of Russian interference. McAfee, who ran unsuccessfully for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination in 2016, has spent the last year on a crusade to exonerate Russia from the intelligence community’s assessment that it hacked the Democratic National Committee. McAfee has found an audience in Russian state-run media outlets, conspiratorial radio host Alex Jones, and pro-Trump right-wing blogs such as Gateway Pundit. “McAfee believes that the report is deceptive propaganda perpetrated on the American public, and I agree,” McCormick said.