tv MSNBC Live With Hallie Jackson MSNBC June 21, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PDT
former head of homeland security about russia's interference in our election and intended to sway voters. something the white house press secretary said he hasn't had the conversation with about the president. speaker paul ryan set tatake questions and on the other side of the capitol, you are seeing public resentment against their own leadership. some senators lashing out about secret health care plans with a vote set next week that will affect tens of thousands of americans even as lawmakers literally cannot find the bill. but republicans did find the votes in georgia. fending off democrat in that very expensive special election. so, how will the party translate that win into something more? we're also looking at the potentially rocky road ahead for democrats. our team of correspondents and analysts are all here this morning. i want to start first with casey hunt on capitol hill. the big story on the hill today. you're covering it all. health care. and apparently a big reveal coming from the senate. so, do we know anything about what is in this bill?
>> well, hallie, that's the tricky part here because this bill has been written in secret to the point that you had republicans complain that they don't know what's in it. mike lee put out a facebook video yesterday and conservative member from utah especially saying, hey, i'm supposed to be one of the small group of 13 people writing this bill and i don't know what's in it. now, the reality is that there are some members who have been very involved in crafting it. bill cassidy of louisiana and i think we may have some sound to play of him from "morning joe" this morning. he is somebody who clearly has a sense of what the contours are. that's partly because he is one of those people that mitch mcconnell really needs to make sure that he knows is going to vote for this before they put it on. i apologize. i don't think we have that sound of cassidy. but he was somebody who was very vocal about his concerns. so, it is very clear that the leadership that are writing and working on this bill know exactly where they think their
members are, what the concerns are and that's why they're waiting to release this to the public. they don't want to litigate it. we're standing on the house side and we're waiting on house speaker paul ryan right now. they feel like the house litigated the whole thing in public. it was a disaster for the party and they don't want to do it that way. the upshot is all the senators and then we'll see a discussion draft on thursday. mitch mcconnell wouldn't commit to putting that on the floor for a vote next week. that is the behind the scenes plan. that will give americans a week to figure out what is in this bill and how it will affect them. >> they're waiting for paul ryan over on the house side of the capital. also on that side of the capital the house intelligence committee. you can see it congressman opening up the hearing with jay johnson. we know what jay johnson is going to say in his opening statement. he talks about the russian
government's interference in the election. they didn't hack into voting machines, to their knowledge, it is unknown how they actually swayed the electorate in 2016. kelly o'donnell is standing outside the door for us there. quickly give us a sense as we see, i believe we saw jay johnson getting sworn in. give us a sense of what we might hear? >> this is the way for those who will be watching this hearing and as we explained it to our viewers, sort of takes us back in time. a time machine to 2016 and what was happening in realtime as the obama administration was confronting this issue of the russian interference. an organized, planned attack as the intelligence community says where the operatives in russia were directing their hackers to try to target ways to get into u.s. voting systems and to influence the broader electorate and we also saw the hacking into democratic based e-mail accounts. so, jay johnson was on the front
end of this. he was the homeland security secretary. so, he will talk about some of the things he knew at the time and when. hallie, when we think of the russian investigation today, so much of what comes to mind has to do with where we are now and the figures that are known to us now. like michael flynn and, of course, those around the president and the president's reaction and his firing of james comey. but if we peel it back and go back to 2016 when it was sort of in the theater of warfare, cyberwarfare that's what jay johnson will illustrate best he knows and lawmakers have a very strong feeling that they have taunderstat to understand what happened to prevent it from happening -- >> hate to cut you short. but we want talttoo to listen t congressman adam shift has to say. >> what the russian government did and how they did it and what motivated them? he feared some americans could
be subboto the russian cause an leads to the fbi investigation. today we'll hear testimony from jay johnson on how the u.s. government responded to this interference in our political affairs. what threats and what steps we took to protect our institutions to inform the public what was happening and to deter the russians from further meddling. by the middle of last summer, it was apparent the russians were not merely gathering information for intelligence purposes, but were intent on weaponizing it by dumping stolen e-mails into the domain and to damage the campaign of hillary clinton. as the ranking member of the house intelligence committee and part of the so-called gang of eight, i have been made aware of information concerning the russian hack, as had by counterpart in the senate dianne feinstein and other senior leadership. what we saw alarmed us and we believe it was incumbent on the
administration to inform the american people what was going on. and so on the same day that donald trump was urging the russians to hack hillary clinton's e-mails, the senate and i wrote to then president obama urging that the administration declassify and release any intelligence community assessments related to the dnc hack and develop a swift and powerful response. over a month later when the administration had still made no public statement informing americans about the republicans were doing, senator feinstein and i took the extraordinary step of issuing our own public state carefully vetted by the intelligence community senior levels of the kremlin. it would be yet another month before the u.s. government would publicly declare russia behind the interference in our election when they issued your october 7th statement. it wouldn't be until well after the election that the administration would take steps the actions when it imposed
sanctions over the hack. i hope secretary johnson, that you will be able to share with us and the american people a sense of the debate that was ongoing in the executive branch as evidence of the russian involvement and hacked e-mails piled up through the late summer and early fall. what led to such a long delay in making attribution and why would the most significant step of imposing costs on russia for its interference come only after the election and what are the lessons learned? at its heart it relies on the trust of the american people and their institutions. the events of last year and the potential for worse in the future are stark warning to all of us and we must guard our democracy jealously and the there are powerful adversaries to tear down democracy and america's role as its champion. we have our work cut out for us, but the world is counting on us to be up to the challenge. i thank you for your
extraordinary service, once again. and your testimony today and i yield back. >> well, thank you, adam. secretary johnson, have you got a statement for the record and would you like to make an opening statement? if so, please proceed. >> mr. chairman, you have my prepared opening remarks. just briefly in the time permitted me, representative conway, representative shift, members of this committee, you have my prepared statement. i will not repeat it here. in three years as secretary of homeland security, i had the privilege of testifying before a congress 26 times. though it is no longer part of my job description, i voluntarily accepted the invitation to be here today as concerned private citizen. in 2016, the russian government at the direction of vladimir putin himself orchestrated cyberattacks on our nation for the purpose of influencing our election. that is a fact, plain and simple.
now, the key question for the president and the congress is, what are we going to do to protect the american people and their democracy from this kind of thing in the future? i'm pleased that this committee has undertaken this investigation. i welcome it. my sincere hope is that in bipartisan fashion, you find answers. last year's very troubling experience highlights cybervulnerabilities in our political process and in our election infrastructure itself. with that experience fresh in our minds and clear in the rear view mirror, we must revolve to further strengthen our cybersecurity generally and the cybersecurity around our democratic process specifically. i'm prepared to discuss my own views and recommendations on this topic and i look forward to your questions. thank you. >> thank you, mr. secretary. recognize myself for seven minutes. again, thanks for being hear
th this morning. a lot of details asked. can we start a top level conversation about dhs' mission with respect to cyber given how intertwined it is to voter registration, voting, vote tallying and all those kind of things and, also, if you wouldn't mind, folding into that what appears to be a delay between when the fbi became aware of things that were going on and what it seems the dhs was informed about things going. how is the relationship with the fbi relative to this particular infrastructure either at the time and then maybe going forward. so, if you'll weigh in on that, i'd appreciate it. >> couple things, sir. first, i think the roles of the federal agencies in cybersecurity spelled out pretty clearly last year in ppd 41. basically, law enforcement, the fbi's responsible for threat response, dhs is responsible for
asset response. so, the crime law enforcement, fbi, patching vulnerabilities and detecting bad actors in the system. dhs. the way i would like to explain it publicly when i was in office. jim comey is the cop and i'm the fireman. on a personal level with jim, we worked very well together. i have known him for 28 years from the days we were assistant united states attorneys together in manhattan and on a personal level at the top of both agencies we worked well together. can i say that down to the field office working level, we were always fully coordinated? no. but i was impressed that day to day the process seemed to be working well. every morning in my intelligence briefing an fbi briefer there who was with me tagive ho give assessment and tell me what the fbi feedback on something was. there is that. i spelled out in my opening
statement, my prepared statement, the first time i recall hearing about the hack into the dnc and i recalled that it had been some months before i was learning of this that the fbi and the dnc had been in contact with each other about this. and i was not very happy to be learning about it several months later. very clearly. >> well, there's two things i guess going on. the dnc hack was, at some point in time, what was the delay between the hacks that fbi was aware of or who found the hacks or the scanning, as you called it, of the various voter registration systems. the attempted intrusions, perhaps, into the voter records. who discovered that. and if it was the fbi, then how long was your delay because using your analogy, the cop and fairma
fireman. how was that delay? >> my recollection is from open source reporting i read more recently. is that the fbi first discovered the intrusion. that's my recollection. >> intrusion of the state systems? >> into the dnc. >> okay. >> the -- and i recall very clearly that there was a delay between that initial contact with the dnc and when the report got to me as secretary of dhs. it may had been that there were others at the staff level in dhs who were privy to this before it filtered up to me in an intelligence report but that is my recollection. >> let's ignore the dnc for the moment. let's talk about the attempts at scanning or whatever the russians did with respect to the election system. voter registration document. when was that discovered and who discovered it and if it wasn't dhs -- >> my recollection is that the initial scanning and probing around voter registration
systems was discovered in late august. could have been july. but late august in my mind and my recollection is that once it was discovered, that information came to me and other senior people pretty quickly. >> okay. >> the -- is there enough of a -- one thing for the director and the secretaries to have good personal working relationships. institutionalizing that is what we are about. that ebbs and flows with depending on who is in those jobs. is there -- is the system of notification between dhs and any not working with the relationship you and mr. comey had at the time? >> in my observation, it worked pretty well. but could stand improvement very
defini definitely. it is incumbent upon the organizations to instill that within their workforce. it worked pretty well together in my three years. but there were glitches and instances that we did not communicate as effectively as we could have. >> one of oour purposes was to reassure the american public with respect to the '16 election and also look at what we do in future elections going forward. you said in your opening statement and your prepared remarks that to your knowledge there was no vote tallying changes. that no one's vote was -- they voted one way and it recorded some other way. is that still your opinion that with respect to the '16 election that the intrusions or attempted or whatever russians and others did did not affect the actual voting itself? >> based on everything i know, that is correct. i know of no evidence that through cyberintrusions, vote were altered or suppressed in some way. >> okay. lessons learned and moving
forward. you designated the voting system as critical infrastructure and in the remaining time, can you give us a quick snap as to why that was important in your mind? >> it was important in my mind because critical infrastructure receives a priority in terms of the assistance we give on cybersecurity. that's number one. a certain level of confidence, confidentiality that goes into the communications between critical infrastructure and the department that are guaranteed. and number three, when you're part of critical infrastructure, you get the protection of cybernorms. thou shall not attack critical infrastructure in another country. those are the principal reasons to do this. in my view, this is something that was sort of a no brainer. in fact, probably should have been done years before. and i'm pleased secretary kelly has reaffirmed it.
>> does that include the parties and the infrastructure around candidates or just the mechanics of voting itself? >> if you read the way i wrote the statement on january 6th, it's pretty much confined to the election process itself. the election infrastructure itself. not the politicians, not the political parties. >> all right, thank you. time expired. adam. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, in the late summer of last year the russians were doing more than gathering for an intelligence that they were, in fact, dumping it in a way designed to potentially influence outcomes not by affecting the vote machines, necessarily. but by affecting american opinion with the dumping of these e-mails. so, that's happening in late summer. mid to late summer. why did it take the administration so long to make a public statement that a foreign adversary was trying to
influence the american election. the statement didn't come until october. why did we wait from july to october to make that statement? >> well, congressman. i'm going to disagree with your premise that there was some type of delay. this was a big decision and there were a lot of considerations that went into it. this was an unprecedented step. first, as you know well, we have to carefully consider whether declassifying the information, compromises sources and methods. second, an ongoing election and many would criticize us for perhaps taking sides in the election. so, that had to be carefully considered. one of the candidates, as you'll recall, was predicting that the election was going to be rigged in some way. so, we were concerned that by making the statement, we might in and of itself be challenging the integrity of the election process itself.
this was, this was a very difficult decision, but in my personal view, it's something we had to do. it got careful consideration. a lot of discussion. my view is that we needed to do it and we needed to do it well before the election to inform the american voters of what we knew and what we saw and that it would be unforgivable if we did not preelection. i'm glad we did it. you know, congressman, every big national security and homeland security decision i've made in my time, somebody always criticizes you for doing it and then somebody else criticizes you for not doing it sooner. so, jim clapper and i made the statement on october 7th. and i'm glad we did, frankly. i think the larger issue is it did not get the public attention that it should have, frankly. because the same day the press was focused on the release of the "access hollywood" video. that made our news below the fold news that day.
>> i want taao ask you about th, as well. but, couple things. certain allegations by one of the campaigns, the trump campaign that the process was rigged. but the allegation wasn't that it is being rigged by a foreign power. why wasn't it more important to tell the american people the length and breath of what the russians were doing to interfere in an election than any risk that it might be seen as putting your hand on the scale. didn't the public have a compelling need to know not withstanding about a different kind of rigging and the need to rebut the idea that this was being presented to the public deliberately to influence the outcome. >> yes, yes and yes. which is why we did tell the american public everything we were in a position tatell them on that date. you'll note from my statement that we attributed the hacking directly to the russian government. we were not then in a position
to attribute the scanning and probing to the russian government. we did say it was coming from a russian-based platform at that point. but at that point we told the public everything we believe we could tell them. and i'm glad we did. so, the priority of informing the american public did override all of those other considerations, which is why we did what we did. >> mr. secretary, you mentioned the issue didn't get that much attention because of "access hollywood." why didn't the administration go further? why diay didn't the president s about this? up to yourself -- no steps to impose sanctions on russia. why weren't those additional step taken when the first noting was essentially overlooked by the public? >> well, you shouldn't view the october 7th statement in isolation, sir.
first, i had been engaging state election officials since august and i had issued a public statement on august 15th. i issued a public statement on september 16th. informing the public and state officials what we knew at the time. i issued another public statement on october 1st. and then another statement on october 10th. so, this was an ongoing effort to inform the public about everything we were in a position then to tell the public. it wasn't just the october 7th statement. >> that october 7th statement was notable in another way that it didn't include james comey's signature as the agency that would be foremost, the foremost responsibility for the forensics of attribution. why wasn't director comey's signature on that statement? >> well, the thinking was that a
statement should come from the intelligence community. and jim clapper then sat atop the intelligence community as the dni. separately, we wanted taput out a statement from dhs about what state election officials can do about this and, again, encourage them to come to us. at some point in the discussion, jim and i decided to just make it a joint statement and that's what happened. >> there have been public reports in the last week or two that the russian probing of our elections infrastructure was far more wide spread than publicly acknowledged and may have affected dozens of states. what can you tell us about what was known at the time and what you know now in terms of the length and breadth of russian probing of our infrastructure and how wide spread was it and beyau beyond penetration of voter databases? >> it was definitely in the fall
a growing list of states where we saw scanning and probing around voter registration databases which concerned us greatly. as i think i stated in one of my public statements, probably the october 1st statement. in at least one or two instances the effort was successful at an intrusion. so, there was a growing list and we saw the scope of this activity expanding as time progressed. and then eventually in january we were in a position to say that this, this activity itself was also the russian government. now, i, too, have seen the more recent reports. i have not had access to classified information for five months. so, i'm not in a position to tell you whether it's right or wrong, but very definitely as fall progressed, we saw a progression of scanning and probing activities around voter registrati registration databases which concern me. come is why i kept encouraging
state official oos s to come ank our help. >> did that involve a majority of the states? >> yes and i was very pleased about that. >> not that they took you up on that help, but the russians probe a majority of the states voter databases? >> i don't know the final count because i haven't had access to intel for the last five months. i see open source and i'm not in a position to agree or disagree. i've seen open source i think 39 states and i'm not in a position to agree or disagree. >> time is expired. >> five minutes. >> good morning, mr. johnson. >> morning, sir. >> i want to start by thanking you for your service to our country which includes a very successful stint as a ausa. so, you will recognize some of my questions as being leading questio questions. they are not leading from the standpoint of trying to trick you as more in the interest of
time. if i say something you may disagree with, it's just in the interest of time. i want to see if we can get some things out of the way that we all agree on. russia has a history of cyberattacks against our country. is that true? >> yes. >> and the former jobs, russia would be considered a career offender as it it comes to seeking to undermine the foundations of our republic. they're constantly trying to attack the foundations of our republic. is that fair? >> i think that is a fair statement. >> they're a career offender. a history of cyberattacks on our country. we suspected before the -- >> as do others. >> sir. >> as do others, by the way. yes, sir. it's not just them. but for purposes of this morning, i want to focus on russia. we suspected before the november elections that they might attack our voting infrastructure.
is that fair to say? >> yes. >> in fact, you warn that they were going to do so. >> i was very concerned that they would do so, which is why i kept issuing all these public statements. yes, sir. >> all right. at the time you separated from service in january of 2017, you have seen no evidence that the russians were successful at changing voter tallies or voter totals. >> correct. >> at the time you separated from service in january of 2017, had you seen any evidence that donald trump or any member of his campaign colluded, conspired or coordinated with the russians or anyone else to infiltrate or impact our voter infrastructure? >> not beyond what has been out there open source. and not beyond anything that i'm sure this committee has already
seen and heard before directly from the intelligence community. the only thing i have on that is derivative of what the intelligence community has and the law enforcement community. >> speaking of the intelligence community, it strikes me that most of the information currently available was available in the fall of 2016. most of the intelligence products that are relied upon to form certain assessments, that underlying data was available in 2016. some of it before the election. >> i'm not in a position to agree or disagree with that because i don't have access any more to intelligence over the last five months. >> well, looking at this a different way. before the election in november of 2016, you had already seen evidence of russian efforts to impact our election. in fact, you testified they had a preference for a candidate. they were aggressive and i think you used the phrase plain and
simple. >> but with respect to efforts to hack into the dnc and other political organizations, yes, very clearly. >> all right. >> correct. >> well, this is, i guess what i'm getting at, they're a career offender when it comes to attacking the foundation of our republic. you warned before the elections that they may attack our voting infrastructure. after the election, president obama took steps to target russia and you took steps to consider our voting apparatus to be critical infrastructure. given what we knew before the election, what more could we have done and should we have done? we weren't surprised that russia was doing this to us. they always do it to us. so, what more could we have done, should we have done before the election? >> well, hindsight is brilliant.
hindsight is 20/20. i'll preface my answer by saying i think it was unprecedented. the scale and the scope of what we saw them doing. and there had very clearly been intrusions by a number of state actors, as i'm sure you're aware. you know, in retrospect it would be easy for me to say that i should have brought a sleeping bag and camped out in front of the dnc in late summer. with the benefit of hindsight. i can tell you for certain that in the late summer/fall, i was very concerned about what i was seeing and this is on my front burner all throughout the preelection period in august, september, october and early november to encourage the states to come in and seek our assistance. and i'm glad that most of them red and blue did.
hindsight is perfect 20/20. but i'm satisfied that this had my attention. it had the attention of my people. because i pushed them at every step of the way to make sure we were doing everything we could do. but, obviously, there are lessons learned from this experience and for the future there is probably more we can and should do. >> for the states, if i remember correctly, you had a conference call or otherwise communicate would the states to offer them your assistance prayer to t ana election. >> correct. >> if i remember your testimony correctly, their response vacillated between neutral and opposed. >> correct. well, it was to the issue of designating them as critical infrastructure. correct. >> do you know without naming the states whether any of the states most vocally opposed to that designation were, in fact, impacted by russian efforts?
>> i'd have to look at both lists. if you're saying impacted, were those states states that had their voter registration databases scanned and perhaps infiltrate infiltrated? i'd have to look at both lists, sir. i don't have that information off the top of my head. >> wondering if any of the states actually needed it the most. >> well, again, they didn't reject our help. 36 of them accepted our help. but they were resisting the idea of a designation to be critical infrastructure, which i wen ahead and did anyway. >> what would that designation have done in november or in october. what would that designation have accomplished had you done it in the fall of 2016 instead of january? >> well, as i outlined, i outlined earlier the advantages of that declaration. but in the short-term, my assessment was that we needed to
get them in. we needed to bring the horses to water to seek our cybersecurity help. and, so, making the designation would have, in my assessment, driven them in the opposite direction. my number one priority preelection was to get them to seek our cybersecurity help. and for the most part, they did. >> thank you, mr. secretary. >> mr. hines, seven minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'll begin by yielding a minute to the ranking member. >> just a quick follow up. you have been asked, mr. secretary, about whether the vote tallies were impacted. some have suggested that because the actual counting of the votes by the machines wasn't impacted, that, therefore, your testifying and others have testified thatf election. these are two different things. i'm not in a position to know whether the successful directed hacks of the dnc and else where did, in fact, alter public
opinion and, thereby, alter the election. do you stand by that? >> yes. thank you for that clarificat n clarification. >> not the job of the int intelligence agencies to determine if they had a determinative effect on the outcome. only whether machines were impacted, not people. >> correct. you need a social scientist or a pollster is to do that. >> i also want to ask you about the information concerning potential coordination with the russians. are you aware of the basis because we have heard testimony that the fbi investigation was somewhat compartmentalized and even director clapper wasn't fully aware of what went into the counterintelligence investigation. are you aware of the information that formed the basis for director comey opening a counterintelligence investigation as you testified in july of last year? >> no, not as i sit here. and if i did, i'm not sure i could talk about it in open session. i do not. >> do you believe that director comey would have opened a
counterintelligence investigation on a presidential campaign lightly or on mere hunch? >> no. >> he would need some evdenshiary basis to do so? >> based on everything i know about jim comey and the fbi, yes. >> good morning, mr. johnson. i want to start by asking you mr. gowdy questions and your responses establish that this is a not a new thing. this meddling and we heard from others that the meddling in the 2016 election was unprecedented. so i wonder if you'll take a minute or two and help us better understand what was unpresdenned and what was different about this array of meddling versus what we've seen in the past.
>> what we've seen a history of various different types of various cyberactors intruding into infiltrating political organizations, political campaigns. and that's what i was referring to when i say that this effort was unprecedented, what i mean is that we not only saw infiltrati infiltrations, but we saw efforts to dump information into the public space for the purpose of influencing the ongoing political campaign. and it was widespread. and in that respect, and we knew it was happening. in that respect, it was very much unprecedented. >> distilling your testimony, we had seen scanning queries, what we might consider espionage, trying to gather information. but we had never seen the, what the russians call active measures. that is to say the insertion of information designed to alter an outcome. that's what makes this unprecedented? >> yes. >> thank you.
so, let's step back a little bit away from how this is unprecedented. we have seen this before. 2008 chinese hackers targeted then candidate barack obama and john mccain. we saw that in 2012. my question is as you assume your duties at homeland security, how were wu thinkie t about this issue? we were thinking about this issue in a constructive way prior to the last election? >> good question. it became a frontburner item for me in summer 2016. and i began discussions with my staff about what should we be proactively doing to help state election officials prepare. i was pleasantly surprised to know that there was an election assistance commission. and that dhs had collaborated with that and that there had been an ongoing dialogue through
the eac, through state secretaries of state. going back to election cycles past. but this had -- this was now becoming a matter for me as a secretary of homeland security. this was becoming frontburner for me in the summer of 2016. >> so summer 2016 this becomes frontburner. implying prior to summer 2016 it was back burner. what was the catalyzing event that moved it from back burner to front burner? >> for me, personally, the reports we were receiving about efforts to intrude into the dnc. and the emerging intelligence picture. >> okay. >> let's get a little more granular here. becomes a front burner issue. were there certain parts of the process at the time the voting machines, the political party databases, the politically associated organizations that we understand may have been probed
that you thought were particularly vulnerable at the time? >> voter registration databases in the course of learning about this issue myself. i took a look along with my staff at the practices in the different states. they tend to vary. but for the most part, there are redundancies in the system and most of it exists off the internet in terms of collecting votes, recording votes. a few states where it does not. but the states with some doj election assistance commission help have been engaging in some best practices. but they tend to vary all over the lot. but what we were most concerned about and what we were seeing were efforts at compromising voter registration databases. >> you said something that in my very limited time i don't want to let drop. you said you thought there is
more we thought we could and should do to address this issue. can you elaborate if you are still secretary of homeland security. what would your recommend ation be? >> a number of things. one, i would as a congress think about -- i would think about grants to state election officials. to help them harden their cybersecurity. i would raise awareness among state election officials, as well as public in general. employees of state governments. raise awareness about the evils and the hazards of spear fishing. i think at a national level, there should be, in this current administration, somebody who really does take the mantle of cybersecurity on full time to highlight this issue, to lead the charge on this issue. my preference would be somebody within dhs. but we really need a national leader to take charge of this
issue. but, first and foremost on the ground, we need to encourage state governments, state election official os to engage in best practices when it comes to vote tallies and so forth. and through grants. we ought to consider grants. i hear that from state election officials themselves. >> thank you, thank you mr. chairman. >> mr. king, seven minutes. >> secretary, good taso see you again. had the privilege of working closely with you and i commend your service. truly outstanding job in state department, assistant u.s. attorney and now as a successful lawyer, i'm sure. just a few points before i yield to mr. gowdy. could you elaborate more on what the dhs' with the hacking as to what was offered them. what they accepted.
was there any level of cooperation at all? >> to my disappointment. not to my knowledge, sir. this is a question i asked repeatedly when i first learned of it. what are we doing? are we in there? are we helping them discover the vulnerabilities. this is fresh off the opm experience. and there was a point at which dhs cybersecurity experts did get into opm and actually help them discover the bad actors and patch some of the ex-filtrations or at least minimize some of the damage. so, i was anxious to know whether or not our folks were in there. the response i got was fbi hadn't spoken to them. they don't want our help. they have crowd strike. the cybersecurity firm. and that was the answer i got after i asked the question a number of times over the progression of time. >> that was, i assume, totally different from the action you got from opm? >> the opm effort we were
actually in there on site helping them find the bad actors. >> do you know who it was at the dnc who made that decision? >> i don't. no. >> do you know if the fbi continued to try to help, try to assist? >> i have, i have read in the "new york times" about those efforts. some time earlier this year. >> i move to strike all references in your time, sir. >> i would just say, maybe that really is me an unusual response by the dnc. if you're talking about a presidential election. you have an unpresdenned matter of cyberhacking by a foreign power. adversary from my point of view. if they will not accept all the health we have been given. especially. it sounds -- not even like it was a republican administration trying to intrude into the dnc. this is an impartial government
dhs. and i find it very hard to comprehend. >> my interest in helping them was definitely a nonpartisan interest. >> i know that. >> and i recall very clearly that i was not pleased that we were not in there helpingvulner. when you're dealing with political organizations, we don't, dhs does not have the power to issue a search warrant or get a search warrant and go in and patch their vulnerabilities over their objections. >> moving ahead, was there any significant intelligence or information that came about after the election that was not available before the election? in other words, so much out there. if the administration was so concerned, why was it that suddenly after the election
seemed, some serious action was taken. the sanctions. sanctions in particular. and also the public statements by the president and by the intelligence community coming out. really coming on strong and, yet, i didn't see what was present the election that was after the election? >> one month before the election, formally and very publicly accused the russian government of doing this in pretty blunt terms uncommon for the intelligence community. that statement was pretty blunt in saying we know the russian government is doing this. based on the picture we saw at the time. the picture continued to build upon itself as time progressed. there was more we knew about the russian government's efforts at scanning voter registration databases. you recall the october 7 statement says we were not then
in a position and the picture got clearer as time progressed. on october 7th we issued a very clear declaration based upon what we knew at the time that the russian government was behind the hacks of the dnc. >> not being critical of you. seems the administration -- >> just didn't get the attention that i would prefer it get because we're in the midst of a campaign and the press and the voters are focused on lots of other things. >> in december we had this drum beat of stories coming out. one after another. some being leaked and then you had sanctions being issued. seem that all the administration to get that story out came after the election into december and early january. and between october 7 and election day very little. as you say, the october 7 statement was overshadowed by the other instances occurring at the time. i think what you had to do. but i'm just so concerned, not
concerned -- >> very differentinaefinitely. >> the october 7th statement was an administration statement. that was the result of an intelligence community assessment. the president approved the statement. i know he wanted us to make the statement. so, that was very definitely a statement by the united states government. not just jim clapper and me. >> in the reality, though, most of the american people. not fully aware of it. i just would have thought during that 32 days. if they would have done that much in the 32 days as they did in december and january people would have been more informed when they went to the polls. >> i can tell you that statements on october 1, october 10 about what we saw. >> but you did your job. i'm not questioning any way about that. really asking about the administration overall. 30 seconds. >> just real quickly, if i could get you to put on your old hat for a second. hacking into someone's server
strikes me as a cry. >> yes. >> so, the dnc was the victim of a crime. i am trying to understand why the victim of a crime would not turn over evidence to you and jim comey who were both a political and come from political backgrounds. >> i'm sure at some point in the timeline they did do that. my point earlier was that in the initial period, i was not satisfied that we were able to get in there ourselves. dhs. to help them identify the bad actor and patch the vulnerabilities. i'm sure at some point the fbi and the dnc had a dialogue. but you'd have to ask them. >> time expired. five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to yield a member to the ranking member to ask a question. >> i just want to follow up on mr. king's comments and
question. i really agree quite completely with mr. king. and i'm not saying this is matter of hindsight. senator feinstein and i were saying this in realtime as it was going on. why didn't the president of the united states and, secretary, you did what you could do. why didn't the president of the united states at the time you were making your attribution or thereafter speak to the american people and say a foreign power is interfering in our affairs. this isn't a democrat thing or republican thing but an american thing. they need to be rejected and they need to stop. why wasn't that done? was there thought given to that? why was that course rejected? >> again, congressman shift, we did make the statement and we were very concerned that we not be perceived as taking sides in the election, injecting ourself into a very heated campaign.
and, so, or taking steps to themselves delegitimize the election process and under mine the integrity of the election process. and, integrity of the election process. so we considered all of these things and the decision was made that the director of national intelligence and the director of homeland security should together make this statement. there were public statements made by various officials including myself through the campaign season, preelection to the same effect. >> i yield back. >> secretary johnson, welcome, again, thank you for your years of service to this great nation. i'd like to talk about atr atribution, in order to effect the outcome of the 2016 election. what i'd like to understand
better, how the united states government came to reach that conclusion and how dhs and rest of the government were able to attribute it directly to the russians. according to the intelligence community assessment in 2017, we noted that the russian intelligence assessed elements of multiple state and local electoral boards and that seems pretty clear. how does one go about attributing that to the russians? what kinds of information, signatures or cyber activity would you look for in order to make that atrib bugs and how do you validate that? >> you probably have to have that discussion in closed session because it's sources and methods. and it's probably better to have that discussion with someone in the intelligence community. i do recall that looking at the intelligence, it was a pretty
clear case perhaps beyond a reasonable doubt, mr. gowdy, that the russian government was behind the hacks into the dnc based on everything i was seeing. in terms of atribution. there are normal considerations who is engaged in some type of cyber attack. my personal opinion was that -- and is that those normal considerations were out the window and he that we had an independent overriding need to inform the voting public of what we saw going on. and the way i looked at it as a corporate lawyer was if i'm the issuer of a public stock and i see a very powerful actor in the market trying to manipulate the price of my public stock, i have
a duty to tell the investing public what i know. >> how did you go about alerting the states, dhs alert the states and local communities about what was going on? and i know that you did -- designation for critical infrastructure. what i'm trying to get at is, given your background and your recommendation that we do something more now to really alert the state and local governments, how do we do it now? and what would you suggest would be a better way to go about alerting them? >> we did have an ongoing dialogue throughout the fall with state election officials at the law enforcement level with dhs, there was office the public october 7th statement but the conversation didn't stop there. i continued to issue public statements and we continued to have a dialogue with state officials as they came in to seek our cyber assistance at the
staff level. in answer to -- >> but only if they came to get your assistance would dhs be more helpful in that sense, you left it up to states and local governments -- >> i think it's the case that we had a dialogue with just about every single of the 50 states. eventually ultimately we had a dialogue with i think all but maybe one or two of the states. they actually signed up for our assistance, there were 36 along with a whole lot of counties and cities that signed up for assistance but we were pushing information out the door to everybody as often as we could. but in answer to your question, i think that -- the states are -- one thing i discovered in this conversation, state election officials are very sensitive about what they perceive to be federal intrusion into their process. i heard that firsthand over and over.
this is our process, our sovereign responsibility, we're not interested in the federal takeover. >> doesn't the federal government have an interest in the integrity of these elections? >> i think the american public, the nation has an interest in the integrity of the election and i think you federally elected officials have an interest in the integrity of the elections that result in you sitting here, yes. but i think that we need to continue now that the campaign is over, maybe in odd years, if we could find a way to raise awareness when the temperature is down, maybe through grants encourage best practices at the state level and maybe encourage a uniform set of minimum standards for cyber security when it comes to state election systems and voter registration data bases. >> thank you. >> your time has expired. five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, thank you for
being here and for your service. some of this may be redundant but i'm trying to really better understand how all of the different entities have come together. can you briefly summarize dhs role in cyber defense. >> you have been watching the house intelligence committee question the former head of homeland security sitting right there, jeh johnson, in large part defended how the obama administration handled russian interference in the election and talked about how the dnc refused the dhs help when it came to the interference from russia regarding that hack. he also talked about working to designate the federal -- the election system as critical infrastructure as he called it and getting push back from states, that it might amount to a federal takeover. i want to bring in our msnbc
editor and author and msnbc contributor jeremy peters. bring in your highlights coming out of the hearing we've been listening to? >> what we're hearing is context. if we think about the russian operation, it was a play in three acts, it was disinformation and hacking and potentially the recruitment and use of u.s. persons. we heard from the testimony, a couple of things, one is of course the idea. >> that there is culpability and this concept of nonatrib bugs, when it comes to laying critical infrastructure, that warnings the russians if they attack one of these designated industries that that could result in escalation. i think that is a very important takea way and justification of making critical infrastructure versus concern was an important point he made. >> thank you much. i want to fill you in on two other pieces of news you may
have missed while watching this hearing. one, the fbi gave an update on the congressional baseball shooting talking about what more they have learned about the suspect there who lived in his car in the parking lot of the ymca. the fbi still reviewing him they say. you also missed house speaker paul ryan coming out and talking with reporters about a number of topics including tax reform and jobs and about health care too, although he kicked all of the questions over to the senate as we have been discussing, working on the health care bill behind cloegsed doors. i want final thoughts from amber and jeremy. grab bag here, dealer's choice. what are you looking for today? >> let me go with russia. i was in the way democrats versus republicans were asking questions how this hack happened. what i hear is not a conversation in congress about what happened and how to fix it but we're still fighting whether russians influence the election and that's not quantifiable, you can't quantify why someone walked in a voting booth and did what they did.
i feel congress is kind of stuck on that question. >> may not have hacked and changed vote totals but did their influence have sway that is not quantifiable. >> that's why you see donald trump so resistance to this notion that russia did interfere. he sees it as delegitimatizing his election, that's a useful political talking point for him because donald trump is all about identifying enemies and villains because it helps explain why he's losing. if he slipped in approval ratings, someone else must be pulling one over on him. they are trying to steal this election back from you. we won and they are going to take it back from us because they are saying it's been delegitimized. it's very effective. >> russia still a big topic for the trump white house and health care as we're getting new reporting what the president has been doing related to health care. he got a full briefing at this lunch he had yesterday with his legislative affairs team, has been in con tant with mitch
mcconnell as well. we're following so much more on msnbc, thanks to both of you for hanging out and watching that hearing with me from our set just outside the capitol. it will be back tomorrow, i have to toss it over to stephanie ruhle and ali velshi. >> good morning. let's get started. >> in 2016 the russian government at the direction of vladimir putin himself orchestrated cyber attacks for the purpose of influencing our election, fact plain and simple. >> election resulted systems in 21 states that were targeted. >> does president trump believe that the russian government interfered in the 2016 elections? >> i have not sat down and talked to him about that specific thing. i have not sat down and asked him about a specific reaction to them. >> we're right now going to march into the cbo buiin