Jan 14, 2020

Report: Russian hackers successfully targeted Ukrainian gas company Burisma

Joe and Hunter Biden. Photo: Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images for World Food Program USA.

Russian hackers from the military intelligence unit known as the GRU successfully targeted Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company that once employed Hunter Biden as a board member, the New York Times first reported.

Why it matters: President Trump was impeached as a result of his alleged efforts to pressure the government of Ukraine to investigate Burisma and the Bidens over unsubstantiated corruption allegations.

  • "The timing of the Russian campaign mirrors the GRU hacks we saw in 2016 against the DNC and John Podesta," the co-founder of Area 1, the firm that detected the hack, told the Times. (The company has released a report detailing its findings.)
  • The Justice Department indicted seven GRU officers in 2018 for conspiring to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election by hacking and releasing the emails of Democrats.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Scott Rosenberg: Public awareness of the Burisma hack cuts both ways politically. For former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign, it means document dumps could happen at any time, with accompanying media frenzy and potentially damaging revelations. For the Trump campaign, it means that any such revelations will come pre-tainted with a Russian label.

The big picture: Experts tell the Times the hackers may have been searching for embarrassing information about the Bidens, though it's not yet known what — if anything — they uncovered.

  • The hackers infiltrated Burisma through phishing emails that looked to have come from within to company to steal employees’ login information.
  • American officials note that Russian hacking tactics have intensified since the 2016 election.

Go deeper ... Fact check: What Joe and Hunter Biden actually did in Ukraine

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details, including a link to the report and more context.

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Pelosi demands briefing on alleged Russian hack of Burisma

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Jan. 14. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday responded to reports that a Russian military intelligence unit successfully targeted Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company that once employed Joe Biden's son as a board member, and demanded that Congress be briefed on the administration's knowledge of the hack.

Why it matters: Pelosi called the reports "alarming" and said they serve as evidence that Russia is "continuing to interfere in our elections to benefit the President and to undermine our democracy."

Go deeperArrowJan 14, 2020

Lindsey Graham says DOJ is receiving Ukraine information from Giuliani

Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that he spoke to Attorney General Bill Barr on Sunday and that the Department of Justice has "created a process" to receive and verify information that Rudy Giuliani gathered about the Bidens in Ukraine.

Why it matters: The House impeached President Trump for allegedly abusing his power to coerce Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. Graham's suggestion that the Justice Department may now be receiving information on the Bidens from the president's lawyer — whose activities in Ukraine helped set off the impeachment inquiry — would be a significant development.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 9, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden says he could still work with Republicans despite impeachment attacks

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden told NBC's "Today" that President Trump's impeachment trial hasn't "shaken" his faith that he will be able to work with "at least some" Republicans if he's elected president, adding, "I think you're going to see the world change with Trump gone."

Why it matters: Trump's legal team and a number of Republicans have sought to use the trial to scrutinize Hunter Biden's position on the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, arguing that the president had a legitimate reason to pressure Ukraine into investigating the Bidens.