The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said he didn’t mean his assertions in a CNN interview that the Republican National Committee was hacked as well as the DNC.
Rep. Mike McCaul (R-Texas) told the network that he didn’t know “specifically” if Russia was behind the attack.
“I will tell you, I have been briefed at a very high-level classified briefing on these Russian allegations. They are very disturbing. The idea of a foreign power, particular one like Russia, a foreign adversary, attempting to mess with our elections — and [FBI] Director [James] Comey basically told us that the motivation was to undermine the integrity of the American political electoral process,” McCaul said.
“These facts and allegations are very disturbing. The FBI has an ongoing investigation into attribution into the Russians to see where, in fact, this comes from. But so far I find them to be very disturbing.”
Asked by Wolf Blitzer if Russia is specifically trying to get Donald Trump elected, McCaul responded, “Well, I think the question is, are they trying to influence or just trying to undermine our electoral process?”
“I think the FBI director would tell you they are trying to just undermine the integrity of the process. It’s important to note, Wolf, that they have not only hacked into the DNC, but also into the RNC. They are not discriminating one party against the other. The Russians are basically — have hacked into both parties at the national level and that gives us all concern about what their motivations are,” he added.
Pressed to confirm if he was indeed breaking news that the RNC had been hacked as well, the chairman replied, “Yes. They have hacked into the Republican National Committee.”
“So, this is — again, they are not picking sides here, I don’t think. They are hacking into both political parties. What they intend to do with that information, I don’t know. It was interesting to watch Mr. Putin talk about how Russia had nothing to do with this, but how it was good to be transparent, for this to come out publicly,” he said. “I don’t trust Mr. Putin. I don’t trust his intentions. I think Russia is not our friend here either. They are one of the biggest cyber-offenders in the world and next to the United States are the greatest challenge that we have in cyber.”
“…They have infiltrated both parties at the national level. They have hacked into both parties. They have information from both parties. Why they have released some documents and not others, we don’t know those intentions. And that is — the ongoing FBI investigation’s purpose right now is to do attribution.”
McCaul said his information was based on a briefing he received, and he couldn’t go into further detail “other than to tell you that they are not discriminating one party against another. They have hacked into both parties at the national level.”
“They could release these Republican documents at a later date and time. I think, again, I take the FBI director’s word when he says that it’s not really so much the influence, but rather under to undermine the integrity of our election systems and our democracy and our way of life,” the chairman added.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in July, at the time of the DNC hack that saw chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) ousted from her position, that his committee had not been hacked.
McCaul released a statement after he appeared on CNN: “I misspoke by asserting RNC was hacked. What I meant to say was, in addition to DNC, Republican political operatives have also been hacked.”
RNC communications director Sean Spicer tweeted that McCaul’s statements on TV were “not true.”
“Contrary to reports, there has been no known breech [sic] of
@gop networks,” Spicer tweeted.
Spicer followed that up a few hours later with, “There has been no known hack of