The 2018 US attack on Russia was reportedly meant to disrupt efforts to cast doubt on the legitimacy of midterm results, which saw the Democrats regain control of the House of Representatives.
The confirmation is a change of tune for Trump. He previously claimed that Russia had stopped cyberattacks agains the US and has supported Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials of interference in the 2016 election despite evidence. Here, Trump is directly confirming at least one Russian interference attempt.
It’s not certain how Russia will respond to Trump’s statement, although history suggests it’s unlikely to acknowledge the IRA’s activities. As it stands, American intelligence agencies and internet giants have shifted much of their attention to potential Russian actions during the 2020 election — those officials and companies will want to know if Trump’s statement will lead to a similar crackdown.