President-elect Donald Trump on Friday said he had a “constructive” meeting with intelligence officials regarding Russia’s cyber intrusions into U.S. political entities, but added that the hacking did not influence the election.
“There was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election, including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines,” Trump said in a Friday statement after his classified briefing. “Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democrat National Committee.”
The scheduled meeting was organized to brief Trump on an intelligence report detailing a decade-long operation by Russia to target U.S. political organizations and individuals. The report, ordered by President Barack Obama, is a compilation of all the proof available that the Kremlin hacked political entities and disseminated that information in an effort to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Trump said in his statement that “there were attempts to hack the Republican National Committee, but the RNC had strong hacking defenses and the hackers were unsuccessful.”
The Washington Post and other news outlets have reported that the intelligence report prepared for discussion at today’s briefing would identify disparities in the levels of effort used by Russian intelligence for breaching the networks of Democratic and Republican campaign networks.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that the Russian government directed those cyberattacks. Clapper told the panel the Russians were behind a “multifaceted campaign” against Democratic Party targets that incorporated the spread of fake news, disinformation and propaganda on social media.
Trump on Friday said he will appoint a team to craft a plan to “aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks” within 90 days of taking office.