Published: Fri, June 23, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Trump disputes Russian interference in 2016 election

Trump disputes Russian interference in 2016 election

Johnson also addressed the Obama administration's political sensitivity when it came to warning of the Russian meddling, and alluded to problems created at the time by Trump's own statements.

Trump's latest tweetstorm puts the president of the United States at odds with the United States intelligence community as well as both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, who adamantly agree that Russian Federation attempted to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee say they've had a productive meeting with Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating potential ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has finished his meeting with leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee in a secure room in the Capitol.

Johnson also said he did not know the information that formed the basis for the FBI to open a counterintelligence investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

The committee's ranking Democrat, 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.

At a briefing on Tuesday White House press secretary Sean Spicer could not say whether the president agrees that Russian Federation did the hacking that helped to sink Democrats in the last election.

Johnson tells the panel that USA voting systems remain vulnerable to future cyberattacks.

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

Russian hackers hacked electroniс voting systems in at least 21 USA states during the presidential election campaign in 2016. She also said that the DNC cooperated fully, even providing a thorough report on the hack to DHS. As a result, some 122 local election offices received phishing emails.

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.

"My interest in helping them was definitely of nonpartisan interest, and I recall very clearly that I was not pleased that we were not in there helping them patch this vulnerability", Johnson said.

Suggesting that the investigation into Russian hacking of USA voting systems has only just begun, officials said on Wednesday that the extent of the hacking was much deeper than originally reported: Russian hackers were able to obtain and change voter information - and steal tens of thousands of voter records, including social security numbers.

He tweeted Thursday that the Democratic National Committee turned down an offer from the Department of Homeland Security "to protect against hacks (long prior to election)".

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.

US intelligence agencies said there was a broad based Russian effort to influence the USA election.

"I want to assure you and all Americans that election officials across the United States are taking cybersecurity very seriously", said Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, the president-elect of the National Association of Secretaries of State.

President Donald Trump weighed in Thursday with two tweets on the subject. "The integrity of the entire system is in question", says Bahar.

Department of Homeland Security officials are still not willing to disclose which state election systems Russian hackers targeted during last year's presidential election.

Democrats on the Senate panel, however, are frustrated by DHS Secretary John Kelly's unwillingness to disclose more detail about the states that were targeted or compromised a year ago.

But though the government disclosed that 21 states were potentially impacted by the targeting, lawmakers were left frustrated that the public still doesn't have a full picture of what exactly the Russians did during the election and that it's not fully clear what the USA will do to protect itself going forward.

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

The FBI had spoken with party officials, but DNC officials used the cyber security firm CrowdStrike instead of seeking government assistance. That would mean election officials would get, on a priority basis, cybersecurity help.

She and other state elections officials are frustrated by what they call a lack of clear guidance or information from the federal level and an absence of understanding by Washington about how elections practically work around the country.

Johnson says he moved to designate USA elections as critical infrastructure on the same day as the release of a declassified US intelligence report that said Russian President Vladimir Putin "ordered" an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election.

Thursday morning, President Trump asked why the DNC turned down assistance, saying it showed that the hacking campaign was a hoax.

In early January, Johnson designated USA election systems such as polling places and voter registration databases as critical infrastructure.

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