The Russian government did not interfere with or alter votes in the 2016 election, said former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson under oath.
“To my current knowledge, the Russian government did not through any cyber intrusion alter ballots, ballot counts or reporting of election results,” Johnson told the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday. “I know of no evidence that through cyber intrusion, votes were altered or suppressed in some way.”
The Democratic National Committee also turned down his agency’s offer to protect its network despite being warned about hacks, Johnson said.
“Sometime in 2016, I became aware of a hack into systems of the Democratic National Committee,” he continued. “…I pressed my staff to know whether DHS was sufficiently proactive, and on the scene helping the DNC identify the intruders and patch vulnerabilities.”
“The answer, to the best of my recollection, was not reassuring: the FBI and the DNC had been in contact with each other months before about the intrusion, and the DNC did not feel it needed DHS’s assistance at that time.”
Soon after, the DNC’s emails were released by WikiLeaks just prior to the Democratic National Convention last summer, leading to DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schulz’s resignation days later.
Johnson then attempted to salvage the narrative in his testimony, saying the Russian government under Vladimir Putin’s orders “orchestrated cyberattacks on our nation for the purpose of influencing our election,” despite the fact he admitted they lack tangible evidence showing the Russians had any measurable effect on the U.S. election.
It’s worth noting that that former FBI Director James Comey offered to write an op-ed last summer making the case that the Russians were meddling in the U.S. election, but the Obama administration rejected the offer, likely confident that Hillary Clinton would win regardless of outside interference.
“The White House shut it down,” one source told Newsweek magazine in March. “They did their usual – nothing.”