After Democrats’ concern, Trump officials issue statement on election security

Donald Trump. File photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

May 22 (UPI) — The Trump administration on Tuesday said it’s seriously examining election security following concerns from Democratic lawmakers that it wasn’t doing enough.

“This is an issue that the Administration takes seriously and is addressing with urgency,” a joint statement released Tuesday from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said.

“Following the threats to our democratic process in 2016,” the statement said, agencies have “prioritized our defined roles in working with state and local election officials to assist them in their threat understanding and risk management practices.”

Earlier Tuesday, top intelligence officials briefed members of the House of Representatives behind closed doors, Bloomberg News reported.

Rep. James Langevin, D-R.I., said about 50 lawmakers attended the briefing and some raised questions about information the administration has about Russian interference in elections.

The U.S. intelligence community concluded in a January 2017 report that Russia meddled in the 2016 election to help Trump and hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton‘s campaign. Democratic lawmakers have questioned since then whether President Donald Trump‘s administration has done enough to prevent election interference in the future.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Trump has been notified since March that he is under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Mueller is looking into whether the Trump campaign colluded with those alleged Russian efforts.

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said in the Bloomberg report Russia’s goal is to “create chaos” instead of helping a particular candidate.

After the briefing, Langevin said “states have had better interaction with the federal government than they did prior to the 2016 election but there are still weaknesses in the system.” In particular, Langevin said he would like to see a paper trail to prevent hacking.

Tuesday also marked the latest set of primary elections in the U.S. Voters are headed to polling places in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky and Texas.

“With primaries already underway across the United States, and the general election less than six months away, it is critical-now more than ever-to safeguard and secure our election infrastructure,” the Trump administration statement said.


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