A Justice Department task force report on foreign interference in U.S. elections will likely be released publicly next month, the Senate Judiciary Committee was told Tuesday, according to TPM.
Adam Hickey, a deputy assistant attorney general in the National Security Division, told the Senate the task force was due to turn over a report to Attorney General Jeff Sessions by the end of the month, and he anticipates the department “to issue a public report in mid-July.”
He added: “I expect that report will provide additional insight to how the department intends to apply longstanding principles and policies in the sensitive context of foreign influence operations.”
Sessions announced the creation of the cyber-digital task force in February.
Hickey declined to confirm or deny any ongoing probes into efforts to interfere with the 2018 midterms.
“I think one of the most important things we’re doing is ensuring that there is activity within the department – and between the department and other departments and the private sector – to make sure we identify information that matters, we open and investigate cases where we learn of potential threats, and we put others in the position to protect and defend themselves,” he said.
Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., questioned the timing of a report not coming out for another month, saying “If I were in Moscow, thinking about engaging in more election interference in the United States in the coming election . . . I guess the question I would ask is, how seriously are Americans taking this threat?”
Durbin pointed out it has been 19 months since the election in which Moscow interfered, and 17 months since the intelligence community reported on it.
Responding to a question from Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., about whether Russia should “pay a price” in order to deter future attacks, Hickey responded, “I think you have to raise the cost of the behavior, correct, senator,” according to CNN.
Hickey added, “It warrants a strong response,” and “in this area and others we have to find ways to raise costs of malicious and malign behavior by foreign states.”
Hickey’s comments contrast with past remarks from President Donald Trump, who has downplayed Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
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