Nov 25, 2019

DOJ official outlines to "60 Minutes" 2016 Russian interference case

Russian honour guards march during the military parade at Red Square, Moscow, 2018. Photo: Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images

A Justice Department official outlined to CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday why the department believes 12 Russian agents indicted during the Russia investigation hacked the Democratic Party's computers in 2016. And a cybersecurity expert and former FBI official warns there's a real threat that Russia could interfere in the 2020 election.

"[The hacking] really happened. And we believe that if we had to we could prove that in court tomorrow using only admissible, non-classified evidence to 12 jurors. I would be surprised [if the agents' cases go to trial]. But the purpose of the indictment [is also] to educate the public.
The U.S. says one team, working out of a building in Moscow called the 'Tower,' created a website and a provocative character to disseminate the stolen material: Guccifer 2.0. What it gives them is plausible deniability, right? They don't need for it to work 100% as long as the Russians can say: 'Wasn't us.'"
— Assistant Attorney General John Demers on "60 Minutes"

What they're saying: The "60 Minutes" interview was broadcast hours after White House counselor Kellyanne Conway appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation," where she was played a clip of Assistant Attorney General John Demers' comments to journalist Bill Whitaker that the evidence shows Russia was "behind the hacking and dumping of the Democratic campaign in 2016" and "we could prove it beyond a reasonable doubt."

  • CBS' Margaret Brennan asked Conway why the president doesn't "believe his own Justice Department and intelligence experts" after Conway defended him for repeating on Fox News Friday a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.
  • "The president has said he accepts that," replied Conway before moving on to say "there are plenty of ways to interfere in elections."
"If we're doing this, we're back to Mueller, and we've already spent two and a half years and $35 million taxpayer dollars for a Mueller report that was produced in March. It was a big bomb."
— Kellyanne Conway on CBS' "Face the Nation"

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