In calling Russian interference with the 2016 Presidential election “a hostile attack,” former FBI Director James Comey added a bit of political perspective.
"This is about America, not about a particular party,” Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee. “It's about their own advantage."
Matt Strobone, a former Washington D.C.-based attorney who now practices in San Diego, believes the Russian interference may inspire similar attacks.
"It's not just Russia that's going to be trying this in the future,” says Strobone.
“Certainly China's going to try it, the Iranians might be inclined to give it a shot,” Strabone told NBC 7. “Anybody with a bone to pick with us or wants to cause chaos in our elections or influence matters of policy in the United States — which is pretty much everybody — is now going to see a way to get involved."
Comey’s remarks also resounded deeply with Charles LaBella, a retired top Justice Department prosecutor. The former colleague of Comey once headed the U.S. Attorney's office here in San Diego.
"This was a manipulation,” LaBella said in an interview Thursday. “This was a calculated effort to put your finger on the scale — the democratic scale — and weigh in on it.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin denies that his government was behind any meddling or hacking. He allows, instead, that some of that could have been done by "patriotic citizens" in his country, or Americans — or even three-year-olds.
While President Trump has been told otherwise by U.S. intelligence experts, he still has expressed doubts.
Comey wouldn't discuss anything involving classified information about the FBI investigation in the open committee hearing. But in closed session, the Senators themselves could be expected to reach a chilling conclusion.
Comey also testified that the Russians targeted "at least hundreds" of government, non-government and nonprofit agencies starting in late 2015.
"It's not a close call; that happened," he said. "They’ll be back."