Trump disputes Russian interference in 2016 election

The Russia issue has cast a shadow over President Trump's first five months in office.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testified to the House intelligence committee and faced a lot of questions about why the Obama administration didn't do more to stop Russian hacking.

In January, Trump acknowledged that he believes Russian operatives hacked into files at the Democratic party headquarters and said Russian President Vladimir Putin "shouldn't have done it".

Trump began by falsely claiming that Obama-era Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in his testimony on Tuesday that there was no collusion between Russian Federation and Trump. "Why didn't they stop them?", Trump asked.

"And so we were concerned that, by making the statement, we might in and of itself be challenging the integrity of the — of the election process itself", Johnson said.

During Senate testimony, Lankford displayed a large screenshot of a phishing email allegedly used by Russian hackers to infiltrate the Democratic National Committee.

Election systems in 21 states were likely targeted by the Russian government previous year, a Department of Homeland Security official said Wednesday, but Oklahoma was not among them.

Trump on Thursday appeared to dismiss the DNC hack as "all a big Dem HOAX!" in a tweet posted early in the morning.

In similar testimony, acting director of the DHS cyber division Samuel Liles said DHS detected hacking activities last spring and summer and later received reports of cyber probing of election systems, but added that none of these systems were involved in vote tallying.

Over the past 5 months, virtually everyone within the intelligence community, the House and the Senate have admitted that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 Presidential election and that they will continue to interfere unless something is done about it. "It's all a big Dem scam and excuse for losing the election!"

Connie Lawson, Indiana secretary of state and president-elect of the National Association of Secretaries of State, said there were three conference calls led by Johnson with top state election officials about attempts to compromise state elections systems.

However, Johnson didn't say that in testimony Wednesday before the House intelligence committee; Johnson said was he wasn't aware of efforts by Trump or his campaign to collude with Russian Federation beyond what the intelligence community already knows. Mark Warner of Virginia, ranking Democrat on the Senate panel, said it didn't make sense not to reveal the identities of the 21 states targeted, information the witnesses refused to share citing ongoing investigations.

Trump also tweeted that a former Homeland Security adviser denied collusion with the Russians. One last shot at me.

The House Intelligence Committee also held a hearing Wednesday to examine the Russian interference in the 2016 election.

But Johnson told lawmakers that there was no evidence that votes were altered as the result of Russian efforts to breach state election systems. The agencies also concluded that the efforts were meant to help Trump get elected, at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's expense. Asked if Comey would need some information to do this, Johnson said, "Based on everything I know about Jim Comey and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, yes".

  • Joey Payne