Politics

No Evidence of ‘Material Impact’ on 2018 Midterms from Foreign Interference

Kirstjen Nielsen and Matthew Whitaker both emphasized that 'efforts to safeguard the 2020 elections are already underway'

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President Donald Trump’s administration found no evidence that foreign interference attempts made a “material impact” on the 2018 midterm election results, according to a statement released Tuesday.

Americans can rest assured that the November midterm election results are legitimate, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said in a joint press release.

The report submitted to Trump on Monday remains classified and will not be made public.

However, the statement that Nielsen and Whitaker released said the report concluded there was “no material impact of foreign interference on election or political/campaign infrastructure” during the midterms.

As the Department of Justice (DOJ) and DHS concluded, “There is no evidence to date that any identified activities of a foreign government or foreign agent had a material impact on the integrity or security of election infrastructure or political/campaign infrastructure used in the 2018 midterm elections for the United States Congress.”

Nielsen and Whitaker also emphasized that “efforts to safeguard the 2020 elections are already underway.”

“While the report remains classified, its findings will help drive future efforts to protect election and political/campaign infrastructure from foreign interference,” the statement noted.

The DOJ and DHS used a report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to inform their own report.

Trump signed an executive order last year asking the departments to determine the scope of foreign election interference attempts and whether they had any material impact on the election results.

Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats also found no evidence that foreign powers materially affected the midterm election results in the report released last year.

Nevertheless, the U.S. must remain vigilant and guard against foreign interference in the 2020 election, Coats, Nielsen and Whitaker all emphasized.

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Coats said in a statement to the Senate Committee on Intelligence in February 2018 that he expects Russia to be the “most capable and aggressive source” of foreign interference campaigns in future U.S. elections.

“Frankly, the United States is under attack. Under attack by entities that are using cyber to penetrate virtually every major action that takes place in the United States,” Coats said at the time.

The DOJ charged Russian woman Elena Khusyaynova in October for her part in committing a “information warfare” campaign against the U.S.

Many Democrats tried to argue the election interference attempts meant Trump wasn’t a legitimate president.

But the department noted there wasn’t “any allegation that Khusyaynova or the broader conspiracy had any effect on the outcome of an election.”

The U.S. had an especially strained relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the wake of Russia’s 2016 election interference attempts.

Many Democrats tried to argue the election interference attempts meant Trump wasn’t a legitimate president.

But there is no evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to sway the election.

Check out more in the video below:

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