At today’s House and Senate Intelligence Committees’ hearings on Russian interference in the 2016 election, Department of Homeland Security, intelligence community, and FBI counterintelligence officials once again confirmed what President Trump himself won’t admit but the U.S. intelligence community has contended for months: Vladimir Putin wanted Donald Trump in the White House, and he put significant Kremlin resources behind a robust hacking and cyber-espionage operation to get the job done.
Here are the biggest takeaways from today’s hearings:
1. DHS Official Jeanette Manfra: Russia targeted 21 state’s election systems in the 2016 election.
BURR: Are we prepared today to say publicly how many states were targeted?
MANFRA: We as of right now, we have evidence of 21 states, election-related systems in 21 states that were targeted.
BURR: But in no case were actual vote tallies altered in any way, shape or form?
MANFRA: That is correct.
2. FBI Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap: Russia specifically sought to help Trump and hurt Clinton
PRIESTAP: I also think another of their goals, which the entire United States Intelligence Community stands behind, was to denigrate Secretary Clinton, and to try to help current President Trump.
3. Former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson: Russian government probed a growing list of state voter registration databases in the fall and there were “at least one or two” successful intrusions.
SCHIFF: What can you tell us about what was known at the time and what you know now in terms of the length and breadth of Russian probing of our election infrastructure, how widespread was it, and did it go beyond penetration of voter databases or manipulation of data in any way?
JOHNSON: It was very definitely, in the fall, a growing list of states where we saw scanning and probing around voter registration databases, which concerned us greatly. As I think I stated in one of my public statements, probably the October 1st statement, in at least one or two instances, the effort was successful at an intrusion, so there was a growing list, and we saw the scope of this activity expanding as time progressed. And then eventually in January, we were in a position to say that this activity itself was also the Russian government.
4. Former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson: FBI Director James Comey would not have opened a counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign lightly.
SCHIFF: Do you believe that Director Comey would’ve opened a counterintelligence investigation on a presidential campaign lightly or on mere hunch?
SCHIFF: He would need some evidentiary information basis to do so?
JOHNSON: Based on everything I know about Jim Comey and the FBI, yes.
5. Former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson: The Russian government was behind the DNC hack, beyond a reasonable doubt.
JOHNSON: Congresswoman, you’d probably have to have that discussion in closed session, because it’s sources and methods and it’s probably better to have that discussion with someone in the intelligence community. I do recall that, looking at the intelligence, it was a pretty clear case, perhaps beyond a reasonable doubt, Mr. Gowdy, that the Russian government was behind the hacks into the DNC, based on everything I was seeing.
Published: Jun 21, 2017