Former homeland secretary says Federal Bureau of Investigation delayed notification of cyber hack

"If Russia was working so hard on the 2016 Election, it all took place during the Obama Admin".

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.

On the House side, the intelligence committee heard from former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

US officials sought Wednesday to underscore for lawmakers the threat Russian Federation posed to the 2016 vote for the White House, outlining efforts to hack into election systems in 21 states and to fill the internet with misinformation during a divisive campaign season. "Why didn't they stop them?" he asked.

Testifying before the Congressional committee, an official from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed the number of states targeted by hackers seeking to affect the electoral results. "It's all a big Dem HOAX!" he wrote. "It's all a big Dem scam and excuse for losing the election!", Trump added.

The conversation evolved into a discussion about Trump's claims that he lost the popular vote to Clinton because of election fraud.

Trump, frequently lashes out at the Russian Federation investigation as a "witch hunt" spearheaded by Democrats.

Sanders noted that Trump said during a news conference in January, "I think it was Russian Federation, but I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people".

Suggesting that the investigation into Russian hacking of US voting systems has only just begun, officials said on Wednesday that the extent of the hacking was much deeper than originally reported: Russian hackers were able to obtain and change voter information - and steal tens of thousands of voter records, including social security numbers.

"To my disappointment, the reaction to a critical infrastructure designation, at least from those who spoke up, ranged from neutral to negative", Johnson said during a hearing Wednesday with the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Johnson's testimony on Russian intrusion is consistent with the assessment of several US intelligence agencies, including the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency.

"We could be here in two or four years talking about a much worse crisis", said North Carolina Senator Richard Burr, the committee chairman, at the hearing.

Johnson also testified about the Democratic National Committee's refusal to turn over servers to the Department of Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation after they said they were hacked.

Sanders pointed to comments Trump made at a January news conference, underscoring that he has not dismissed the idea that Russian Federation hacked the USA election, but he also believes "we also get hacked by other countries and other people".

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Wednesday that the US move wasn't constructive and warned of possible retaliation.

"A sophisticated actor could hack an election simply by focusing on certain counties", King said.

He said he had not made and does not have the tapes about which he seemed to warn Comey last month.

"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", the former Homeland Security chief said in his opening statement.

Intelligence agencies have concluded hackers stole information from the phishing operation and provided it to WikiLeaks seeking to impact the USA presidential election.

Officials in the testimony would not specify which states were targets, but acting deputy undersecretary Jeanette Manfra said the states affected are aware.

Department of Homeland Security officials are still not willing to disclose which state election systems Russian hackers targeted during last year's presidential election.

Mueller took over the Russian Federation probe in May after Trump fired James Comey.

"In 2016, the Russian government, at the direction of [President] Vladimir Putin himself, orchestrated cyberattacks on our nation for the objective of influencing our election - plain and simple", Johnson said.

  • Larry Hoffman