WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Trump administration and the Russia investigation (all times local):
The ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee says Tuesday that hacking into state voting systems was more widespread than has been disclosed.
But Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia wouldn’t comment directly on the Intercept release. He says: “I think it’s important that the American people understand that the Russian attempts to break into a number of our state voting processes … was broad-based.”
He adds: “It’s my hope that in coming days that we can get more information out about that — not to re-litigate what happened in 2016.”
He said Virginia has a primary next week, a general election in 2017 and states across the country have upcoming elections too.
Says Warner: “I think people need to realize this is a critically important issue that goes to the heart of our democratic process.”
The chairman of the Senate intelligence committee says it sought business records from former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to try to track his whereabouts as they relate to the panel’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.
Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., says the panel issued a subpoena for Flynn’s business records to see if his travel, expense and phone records would “give us insight as to where he was.”
Burr says the committee sought Flynn’s business records because it got turned down on its earlier request for a broader array of personal information and documents related to Flynn’s contacts with Russia. Flynn turned over about 600 pages of documents to the committee on Tuesday.
Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has turned over about 600 pages of documents to a Senate committee investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
That’s according to a congressional aide who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the committee’s work. The aide said the Senate intelligence committee’s investigators received the documents Tuesday afternoon and are reviewing the information.
Flynn had previously invoked his Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination in rebuffing an earlier subpoena from the committee. After the panel narrowed the scope of that subpoena and issued additional ones for records from two of his businesses, Flynn agreed last week to turn over some documents.
At least one Republican senator is dismissing the notion of President Donald Trump colluding with the Russians with a criticism of the president’s dealings with his administration.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has assailed Trump in the past and ran against him for the GOP presidential nomination. Graham was asked on Tuesday whether he was concerned about the testimony from ousted FBI Director James Comey in Thursday’s congressional hearing.
Graham said: “I don’t believe Trump colluded with the Russians because I don’t think he colludes with his own staff. So I’m not worried about that.”
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly indicated on Tuesday that President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner and his communications with Russia are part of a wide-ranging probe by the Justice Department’s special counsel.
Kelly defended Kushner at a Senate hearing amid reports that he attempted to establish a “back-channel” communication between Russia and Trump’s presidential transition team. Under Democratic questioning, Kelly said such back-channels are common and one must assume that Kushner is “a great American.”
But he also indicated that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the matter.
Under questioning from Democrats, Kelly said: “I think there are numerous investigations that are looking into this. I think it’s part of the Bob Mueller investigation, and I think there’s a number of congressional committees looking into it.”
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is defending top White House adviser Jared Kushner amid reports that Kushner attempted to establish a “back-channel” communication between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential transition team.
Under Democratic questioning, Kelly said “we have to make the assumption — and I will — that Jared Kushner is a great American.” He said back-channel talks have been common in U.S. diplomacy.
Still, Kelly noted the matter is under investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his probe into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Kelly told Montana Sen. Jon Tester that “It’s part of the Bob Mueller investigation,” and the subject of congressional probes.
Tester said he believes the conduct of the president’s son-in-law is “unacceptable” and asked Kelly “to find out what the hell is going on.”
The Kremlin has denied claims from a U.S. government intelligence report that Russian hackers attacked at least one U.S. voting software supplier before last year’s presidential election.
The classified National Security Agency report, which was published online on Monday by The Intercept, said Russian military intelligence agency GRU attacked the software company and sent spear-phishing emails to local election officials around October and November.
The report did not say whether the hacking had any effect on election results.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, denied the allegations Tuesday, saying that the Kremlin did not see “any evidence to prove this information is true.” He said Moscow categorically denies “the possibility” of the Russian government being behind it.
Russian hackers attacked at least one U.S. voting software supplier days before last year’s presidential election, according to a government intelligence report leaked Monday that suggests election-related hacking penetrated further into U.S. voting systems than previously known..
The classified National Security Agency report, which was published online by The Intercept, does not say whether the hacking had any effect on election results. But it says Russian military intelligence attacked a U.S. voting software company and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials at the end of October or beginning of November.
U.S. intelligence agencies declined to comment.
However, the Justice Department announced Monday it had charged a government contractor in Georgia with leaking a classified report containing “Top Secret level” information to an online news organization. The report the contractor allegedly leaked is dated May 5, the same date as the document The Intercept posted online.
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