Congresswoman On Key Election Security Findings From The Mueller Report
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
The political fallout from the Mueller report continues, but there may be a more pressing concern ahead of the 2020 election. According to the redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report, the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in a sweeping and systematic fashion. Investigators found that Russians hacked almost 60 Democratic Party computers. The report also revealed cyberattacks that targeted states' election infrastructure.
To discuss what the report revealed about election security, we turn now to Representative Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California and a member of the Congressional Task Force on election security. Thank you for joining us.
ZOE LOFGREN: Sure. Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So that task force that you're a part of, made up of Democrats, put out a report last year on the issue of election security. Did you learn any new information about election security and Russian interference from the Mueller report that you didn't know?
LOFGREN: We were not aware that the Russian military had attacked Florida election systems. And we didn't know about the attack on the software of an election vendor. And as I think you know, we have asked for the full, unredacted report, which will be very helpful as we try and understand what the Russian military actually did.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I want to talk to you about Florida because there is a difference of opinion on this. On the one hand, we have Mueller saying this did happen. There were Democrats in that state, like Bill Nelson, who purported that there had been an attack on the election infrastructure there. But others say that it didn't happen.
LOFGREN: Well, I - all I have is the Mueller report. And I do know this; the Department of Homeland Security was aware, I am told, of this attack. They did not advise the state of Florida because their position is they only deal with the victims. And the victim in this case was the county, not the state - which is a stupid rule.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: The Mueller report also emphasized the urgency of fixing election security gaps before 2020. What can Congress do?
LOFGREN: For one thing, we need to provide resources to the states. I mean, a lot of the equipment that is being used is 10 or 20 years old. Some states are using software that no longer receives updates. They're very vulnerable to attack - a cyberattack. Many of them, including in Florida, don't have a paper record. So if there were to be an attack by a foreign adversary that even changed votes, there'd be no way to prove it or know it. So that'd have to change.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Do you think the Mueller report has shifted the positions in Congress at all on the other side of the aisle?
LOFGREN: Well, it's hard to know. I mean, this report was just received. The entire U.S. Congress is home in their districts right now. I'm here in San Jose. Really, we don't have a lot of informal discussions unless we're all in Washington, and that won't happen for a week.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Are you confident that the United States will be prepared for the 2020 elections? Can you make this - that promise to the American people?
LOFGREN: I don't know at this point. I can promise this: I'm going to do the best I can to make sure that we are. But as you know, we have a Democratic majority in the House, a Republican majority in the Senate and a president who seems to think this is not a problem. So I can't promise what the U.S. government will do. All I can promise is what I will try and do.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Representative Zoe Lofgren, thank you very much.
LOFGREN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.