WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – A startling report has revealed that Russian hackers tried to break into U.S. election systems just days before last November’s vote. The news comes as the White House confirms the president will not try and prevent the former FBI director from testifying in Congress later this week.
An election software company based in Florida was one of the targets of Russian hackers just days before voters went to the polls.
Leaked documents from the National Security Agency detail claims that the hackers working for Russian military intelligence carried out the cyber-attack. However, the NSA does not say whether there was any impact on election’s outcome.
A total of 17 U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia meddled in the election to try and help Donald Trump.
There are five different investigations underway to determine whether there was cooperation between Russia and the Trump campaign.
“President Trump will not assert executive privilege regarding James Comey’s scheduled testimony,” said Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
The former FBI director is set to testify Thursday to senators conducting one of those investigations.
President Trump fired Comey, and had reportedly urged him to back off his investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
REPORTER: Did you in any way try to urge former FBI Director Comey to back off the investigation into Michael Flynn?
TRUMP: No. No. Next question.
But Comey’s notes on their conversations reportedly state otherwise.
“I hope you can see you way clear to letting this go. To letting Flynn go,” the president allegedly said. “He’s a good guy.”
The question is, was that obstruction of justice?
“We want to find out what Comey was thinking at that time. If he thought it had risen to that level of obstruction, and if he thought it did, why didn’t he do something about it? Why didn’t he act on it? He was still FBI director,” said Sen. Joe Manchin.
As for that report on Russian hackers trying to break into u-s election systems, an NSA contractor leaked the document to a website called The Intercept.
That contractor, identified as 25-year-old Reality Leigh Winner of Augusta, Georgia, was charged in U.S. District Court with copying classified documents and mailing them to a reporter with an unnamed news organization. Prosecutors did not say which federal agency Winner worked for, but FBI agent Justin Garrick said in an affidavit filed with the court that she had previously served in the Air Force and held a top-secret security clearance.
Winner’s attorney, Titus Thomas Nichols, declined to confirm whether she is accused of leaking the NSA report received by The Intercept. He also declined to name the federal agency for which Winner worked.
“My client has no (criminal) history, so it’s not as if she has a pattern of having done anything like this before,” Nichols said in a phone interview Monday. “She is a very good person. All this craziness has happened all of a sudden.”
In affidavits filed with the court, Garrick of the FBI said the government was notified of the leaked report by the news outlet that received it. He said the agency that housed the report determined only six employees had made physical copies. Winner was one of them. Garrick said investigators found Winner had exchanged email with the news outlet using her work computer.
Garrick’s affidavit said he interviewed Winner at her home Saturday and she “admitted intentionally identifying and printing the classified intelligence reporting at issue” and mailing it to the news outlet.
Asked if Winner had confessed, Nichols said, “If there is a confession, the government has not shown it to me.”
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)