Arrington MSNBC interview

In an interview that aired Sunday on MSNBC, Republican congressional candidate Katie Arrington responds to a question about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Screenshot. MSNBC.

A day after Katie Arrington cited China as a bigger offender in tampering with America's 2016 presidential election, the South Carolina Republican congressional candidate agreed Russia is the culprit.

"Of course I believe Russia meddled in our elections," Arrington told The Post and Courier on Monday. "We have indictments. We have the social media posts to prove it."

The comment came less than 24 hours after MSNBC aired a segment about Arrington on Sunday night in which she was asked whether she believed the Russian government intentionally tried to interfere in the American presidential election through hacking and other cybersecurity methods.

"Do you believe that that happened or not?" reporter Kasie Hunt asked Arrington in the one-on-one interview that took place last week in Charleston.

Arrington did not respond directly.

"I believe that every nation under — that has the capability tries to do things to each other without a doubt," Arrington, a one-term state lawmaker from Summerville, responded.

Hunt pressed Arrington to explain.

"You don't think the Russians did anything worse or more nefarious than any other nation?" Hunt asked.

"I think China was way worse than anything that Russia could have or did," Arrington affirmed.

To date, U.S. intelligence services have repeatedly stated Russia meddled in America’s last presidential election. 

When asked about her China comment Monday, Arrington told The Post and Courier she was speaking more broadly.

She cited her experience as vice president of sales operations for Dispersive Technologies Inc., a cyber security solutions provider.

Calling herself a cybersecurity expert, Arrington said she has "seen firsthand the relentless efforts by China to conduct cyber espionage."

"Anyone involved in cybersecurity knows that China has been a problem for years," Arrington said by phone.

President Donald Trump has long rejected U.S. intelligence community findings on Russia, including as recently as his appearance in Helsinki this month with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After returning to the U.S., Trump would later go on to say he "misspoke" and that he accepted the U.S. intelligence community's findings that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential elections.

Arrington has made her across-the-board support for the president a keystone of her bid to win the coastal 1st Congressional District.

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Joe Cunningham, Arrington’s Democratic rival, criticized his opponent for her initial comments in which she stressed China over Russia in her answer.

"We stand with the CIA, the Office of the Director on National Intelligence, the FBI, the National Security Agency, the Justice Department, and every other law enforcement and intelligence agency," Cunningham said in a statement provided to The Post and Courier.

"We will always protect our country from national security threats foreign or domestic," he added.

Arrington gained national attention when she defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford in the GOP primary last month.

Also in the interview Sunday, Arrington was asked whether it bothered her that the president is alleged to have had an affair with a Playboy playmate.

Arrington, a Catholic, stammered.

"I'm honestly ... You give me one ... I'm not here to judge anybody. I'm not Jesus Christ."

During her primary bid, Arrington ran an ad that took direct aim at Sanford for his 2009 infidelity while he was governor.

Reach Caitlin Byrd at 843-937-5590 and follow her on Twitter @MaryCaitlinByrd.

Political Reporter

Caitlin Byrd is a political reporter at The Post and Courier and author of the Palmetto Politics newsletter. Before moving to Charleston in 2016, her byline appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times. To date, Byrd has won 17 awards for her work.