Trump disputes Russian interference in 2016 election

Cheriss May  ZUMA

Cheriss May ZUMA

Sanders noted that Trump said during a news conference in January, "I think it was Russian Federation, but I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people". The findings are at the heart of an investigation into contacts that members of Trump's campaign team may have had with Russian officials during the campaign and the transition.

Top Democrat on the panel Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, said it was an introductory meeting aimed at working to ensure the congressional investigations don't conflict with the one led by Mueller.

On Wednesday, Johnson said it was "plain and simple" that Russia, at the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin, orchestrated cyberattacks in the United States in order to influence the election.

"I think he has made it clear and been consistent that while everyone agrees the result of the election wasn't influenced, he thinks that it probably was Russia", Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday at an off-camera briefing with reporters.

The testimony was grim from the Senate Intelligence Committee's second panel, which included state elections officials and a computer science expert who described the vulnerability from which he said electronic voting systems suffer.

Johnson says "the Russians will be back" and possibly other "bad cyber actors", too, to meddle in future elections.

Connie Lawson, the current secretary of state for IN, says a recently leaked report purportedly from the National Security Agency suggests election-related hacking penetrated further into USA voting systems than was previously known. As a result, some 122 local election offices received phishing emails.

On the House side, the intelligence committee heard from former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, asked Johnson if former FBI Director Jim Comey would have opened such an inquiry without an evidence for doing so.

'I believe the reference to the hoax is about the fact that they're trying to delegitimize his win in the election process, and less about the hack itself, ' she said. He said he wasn't aware of efforts by Trump or his campaign to collude with Russian Federation beyond what the intelligence community already knows.

Johnson said that on October 7, he and then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued a statement accusing the Russian government of interfering with the USA election process - a claim Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied.

Johnson, who served as homeland security secretary from 2013 to 2017, was appointed to his post by former President Barack Obama.

In a statement, former DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz saying she personally was never contacted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any government official about the breach, which would have allowed her to be briefed on the situation.

"How is it that the FBI or DHS or any federal agency that was concerned about a foreign enemy state intruding on the networks of one of the two major political parties did not think it important enough to go higher than a tech support staffer?" she said. That was Donald Trump, although Johnson didn't name him. "The integrity of the entire system is in question", says Bahar.

Jeh Johnson, the former secretary of homeland security, says his concerns about a cyberattack against USA election systems grew during the summer of 2016.

Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Cybersecurity and Communications for the National Protection and Programs Directorate within DHS Jeanette Manfra said all "system owners" had been notified if they were impacted, but in some cases that may not be state election officials. That would mean election officials would get, on a priority basis, cybersecurity help.

"So anything I'd have on that is derivative of what the intelligence community has - and the law enforcement community", he said.

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