Trump disputes Russian interference in 2016 election

The Latest: Former Homeland boss outlines Russia threat

He said the "scale and aggressiveness" was different this time, with the primary goal being to sow discord and aid the candidacy of Republican Donald Trump, the eventual victor.

Jeanette Manfra, the department's acting deputy undersecretary of cybersecurity, testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

LILES: Finally, a small number of the networks were successfully exploited.

Liles' remarks add some clarity to the breadth of the Kremlin's cyber mischief.

Last year, reports circulated that hackers had targeted the voter registration systems in the states of IL and Arizona. He also questioned why the Obama administration did not more forcefully address the DNC hack.

Despite the overwhelming consensus within the intelligence community, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that he didn't know if Trump believed Russian Federation was behind the attacks.

Both Trump and Russian Federation have denied allegations of meddling in the 2016 election and collusion between his associates and the Kremlin while the issue is being investigated.

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

"Who has primary responsibility for federal election integrity?" He said 33 states and 36 cities and counties used his department's tools to scan for potential vulnerabilities.

When asked Tuesday whether Trump believed that Russian Federation interfered in the election, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he could not give a definitive answer because he had not asked Trump about it since he took office in January.

According to Johnson's testimony, the administration had known months before in mid-August about Russian efforts to target state electoral systems.

"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", he said.

White House discussing moving Spicer to senior communications role
Spicer held another off-camera briefing today, but this time audio was not recorded. Former communications director Michael Dubke resigned last month.

"The FBI and the DNC had been in contact with each other months before about the intrusion", he said.

(DHS officials testifying before the Senate earlier this week said election systems in as many as 21 states may have been targeted last fall.) No evidence has been discovered indicating that the Trump campaign had access to any of the stolen data, Time notes.

Russia's computer-hacking operation leading up to the election led to the release by the file-sharing group WikiLeaks of thousands of emails captured from the files of Democratic party chairman John Podesta, who was the campaign chairman for Trump's challenger, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

In prepared testimony, he described the interactions the Obama administration had with secretaries of state and local election officials about the dangers that Russian hacking posed.

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.

Special counsel Robert Mueller was later named to lead the investigation, and The Washington Post reported that Mueller is considering investigating Trump for obstruction of justice because he fired Comey.

A special counsel and at least four congressional committees are investigating 2016 breaches blamed on Russian Federation, but Trump has cast doubt on the idea - supported by more than a dozen intelligence agencies - that Moscow is to blame.

He shared that he grew increasingly more anxious about a cyberattack against the US election system and that he and others "sounded the alarm but that the press and voters were focused on a lot of other things".

USA intelligence agencies concluded that the Kremlin orchestrated a wide-ranging influence operation that included email hacking and online propaganda in order to discredit Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and help Mr Trump win the White House. That report said Russian intelligence services had "obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards".

The US continues to state that none of the attacks directly election vote counts.

Johnson tells the panel that US voting systems remain vulnerable to future cyberattacks. Intelligence agencies have concluded hackers stole information from the phishing operation and provided it to WikiLeaks seeking to impact the US presidential election.

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