Trump disputes Russian interference in 2016 election

Jeh Johnson

Jeh Johnson

She testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that there is evidence that election systems in 21 states were targeted by Russian agents.

The president appeared to be referring to Wednesday's congressional testimony by Jeh Johnson, Obama's former homeland security secretary, who said that after the Democratic National Committee's email servers were hacked, the DNC declined an offer by the Department of Homeland Security to help the party committee, which also had been in touch with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, identify intruders and patch vulnerabilities.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson from former President Barack Obama's administration told the House Intelligence Committee that Russia's high-tech intrusion did not change ballots, the final count or the reporting of election results.

The attackers used a variety of publicly known exploits and software vulnerabilities to try to get into election registration and management systems, but not the vote tallying equipment itself.

Senators said the Homeland Security Department should reveal which state election systems were targeted by hackers as Jeanette Manfra, the department's undersecretary for cybersecurity, demurred. There is also evidence that Russian Federation launched cyberattacks on our voting systems in 39 states.

Johnson's October statement did not mention the "intelligence community's opinion", released after the election, that the Russians wanted Hillary Clinton to lose. "It's about trying to make excuses for why Democrats lost", Sanders said.

Mr Trump also claimed on Thursday that former homeland security chief Jeh Johnson "is latest top intelligence official to state there was no grand scheme between Trump & Russia".

Mr. Johnson added speculation to the ongoing scrutiny of fired FBI Director James B. Comey when he questioned the time delay between when the DNC and FBI first discussed Russian hacking - and when his department finally learned of the breach.

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Of course, the investigation has taken new turns since Johnson left office.

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 USA presidential election.

Johnson told a House Intelligence Committee hearing Wednesday that he has no knowledge whether Trump or his campaign aides illegally colluded with Russian interests to help him win a four-year presidential term, an allegation being investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

He acknowledged that the Federal Bureau of Investigation delayed notification to DHS about the cyberattack on the Democratic National Committee a year ago.

Jeh Johnson, who was USA secretary of Homeland Security during the November election, testified.

Spicer was asked whether Trump stands by the US intelligence community's conclusion that Russian Federation tampered with the 2016 election and said only that he hadn't "sat down and asked [Trump] about his specific reaction".

Former Secretary Johnson designated the nation's election infrastructure as "crucial infrastructure" this January as a way to ensure more formal cooperation and attention around the subject.

FESSLER: He and others on both the House and Senate panels said they're anxious that the USA isn't getting its act together fast enough.

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