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Russians hacked 21 election systems, Trump video a distraction, say United States officials

Russians hacked 21 election systems, Trump video a distraction, say United States officials

While the Russian interference in the 2016 campaign has been known for months, it was the first time US officials have said how many states' electoral systems were targeted.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson appears before the House Intelligence Committee task force on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Wednesday as part of the Russian Federation investigation.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told House lawmakers today that he was frustrated with some of the response to the "very troubling" hacking operation by Russian Federation during the campaign 2016 season, from the Democratic National Committee shunning assistance to patch their vulnerabilities to states wary to work with DHS on securing their voting systems.

"In 2016, the Russian government, at the direction of Vladimir Putin himself, orchestrated cyberattacks on our nation for the goal of influencing our election - plain and simple", Johnson said, warning that the cyberattacks against US elections would worsen in the years ahead.

In what has become typical fashion, President Trump blamed the Obama administration for failing to "stop" Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

President Donald Trump appeared to cast doubt on the assessment of 17 US intelligence agencies that blame Russian Federation for election meddling, questioning Thursday why the Obama administration didn't try to stop it. "Why didn't they stop them?" he asked.

In a Senate hearing this week, a senior official from the Department of Homeland Security said that 21 states had their voter databases breached by hackers during the 2016 election.

"It's all a big Dem HOAX!" the president tweeted.

"The intelligence community has no doubt that the Russians attacked the DNC in an effort to disrupt our election", she continued.

Given the scope and breadth of the Kremlin's attempts to interfere in the November election, the Obama administration has faced questions about the timing of its public disclosure, just a month before Americans went to the polls. James Lankford (R-Oklahoma City) and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Trump seized on Johnson's comments, blasting the Democrats in an additional tweet for not working with the DHS to prevent the hacks.

"I'm not going to argue with you", Johnson said.

He said favoring certain candidates over another has been part of Moscow's playbook since the Cold War, but on targeting state election infrastructure, he said that was new in the US.

The federal government offered cybersecurity assistance to state and local entities during the 2016 election, but they resisted the help, President Obama's Homeland Security secretary testified Wednesday.

"And I'm deeply concerned about the danger posed in future interference in our elections", he said.

Priestap added that Russian Federation has been conducting campaigns regarding USA elections "for years" but that the Kremlin has now stepped up its game.

USA officials told lawmakers Wednesday there is no question that Russian Federation engaged in widespread interference in last year's presidential election aimed at helping Trump win the White House, but they said there is no evidence that Moscow was able to change the vote count.

Comey testified two weeks ago before the Senate Intelligence Committee on his interactions with the president, saying Trump has expressed a "hope" that Comey would drop the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. One last shot at me.


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