Bolton, Coats, Nielsen, and Wray Condemn Election Hacking In Joint Press Conference
On Thursday, National Security Advisor John Bolton, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and FBI Director Christopher Wray gave a joint press conference speaking out on election hacking ahead of midterms. In the press conference, each member of the Trump Admin affirmed their commitment to the issue of election hacking by foreign adversaries.
Here are the main takeaways from each:
National Security Advisor, John Bolton:
“Since January 2017, the President has taken decisive action to defend our election systems from meddling and interference.”
Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats:
“In regards to Russian involvement in the midterm elections, we continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States.”
Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen:
“Our democracy itself is in the crosshairs. Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy and it has become clear that they are the target of our adversaries.”
FBI Director, Christopher Wray:
“As I have said consistently, Russia attempted to interfere with the last election and continues to engage in malign influence operations to this day. This is a threat we need to take extremely seriously & tackle & respond to with fierce determination & focus. But it’s important to understand this is not just an election cycle threat. Our adversaries are trying to undermine our country on a persistent and regular basis, whether it’s election season or not.”
However, it would be negligent to not note that all of these comments are a much stronger display of force than that of our own President, who, on the world stage, denied Russian interference at the Helsinki press conference with Vladimir Putin. He later walked back that statement in Russian hacking, claiming that what he meant to say was: “The sentence should have been, ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia'” with emphasis on “wouldn’t.”
President Trump then called Russian interference a hoax days later on Twitter.