Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Chris Wray issued a stark warning to Congress on Tuesday, telling Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) that the Russian government remains “absolutely intent” on interfering with American elections.
In an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Wray was asked point-blank by Graham if the Russians are still attempting to interfere with American elections.
“The Russians are absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections through foreign influence, in particular,” Wray said.
Graham pressed Wray further, asking if it was “fair to say that everything we’ve done against Russia has not deterred them enough — all the sanctions, all the talk — they’re still at it.”
“Well, my view is until they stop, they haven’t been deterred enough,” Wray responded.
Pushed to answer directly about whether the Russians continued their behavior around American elections, Wray answer with a simple, “Yes.”
Watch the video below, via CBS News:
Graham: Are the Russians still trying to interfere in our election systems?
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 23, 2019
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report determined that the Russian government, “interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.” Mueller outlined Russian efforts ranging from social media campaigns intended to grow support for Donald Trump while disparaging Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, as well as the hacking and subsequent release of documents from the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
The Mueller report attributed hacking efforts against members of the Clinton campaign, the DNC, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to the Russian Federation’s Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, also known as GRU.
“The GRU later released stolen Clinton Campaign and DNC documents through online personas, ‘DCLeaks’ and ‘Guccifer 2.0,’ and later through the organization WikiLeaks,” Mueller wrote in his final report. “The release of the documents was designed and timed to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election and undermine the Clinton Campaign.”
Despite sanctions levied against them by the administration in response to their work to undermine the 2016 presidential election, the Russian government does not appear dissuaded from continuing their efforts into the upcoming presidential election.