After days of silence, Trump says Russian cyberattack may have been China

After staying mum this week on a massive cyberattack that U.S. officials suspect was perpetrated by Russian government hackers, President Trump broke his silence Saturday by suggesting that China may have been the culprit, linking it to his obsession with voter fraud in the past election.

“The Cyber Hack is far greater in the Fake News Media than in actuality,” Trump tweeted late Saturday morning. “I have been fully briefed and everything is well under control. Russia, Russia, Russia is the priority chant when anything happens because Lamestream is, for mostly financial reasons, petrified of discussing the possibility that it may be China (it may!).”

Trump added that “there could also have been a hit on our ridiculous voting machines during the election, which is now obvious that I won big, making it an even more corrupted embarrassment for the USA.”

There is no credible evidence of widespread voter fraud during the presidential election, which Trump lost to President-elect Joe Biden. Twitter has flagged Trump’s tweet for misinformation.

Trump’s comments come as U.S. officials grapple with a serious breach that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA, said would “take weeks, if not months” to understand and “determine the total number of agencies affected by the attack and the extent to which sensitive data and information may have been compromised.”

The hackers used sophisticated techniques to target government and corporate networks to steal sensitive information, Yahoo News’ Jenna McLaughlin reported. The government reportedly suspects APT29, or Advanced Persistent Threat 29, sometimes called Cozy Bear, a Russian hacking group associated with the Kremlin’s foreign intelligence service.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also attributed the attack to Russia, telling conservative radio host Mark Levin in an interview Friday that officials “can say pretty clearly that it was the Russians that engaged in this activity,” NBC News reported.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at Georgia Tech, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. (John Bazemore/AP)

Trump has consistently refused to take sides against Russian President Vladimir Putin. At a summit in Helsinki in 2018 he publicly accepted Putin’s denial of Russian interference, on Trump’s behalf, in the 2016 election — disputing the conclusions of American intelligence and law enforcement officials.

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, called Trump’s tweet on Saturday “another scandalous betrayal of our national security by this president. Another dishonest tweet that sounds like it could have been written in the Kremlin,” he said. “Another obsequious display towards Putin. And yet another reason that Trump can’t leave office fast enough.”

Trump’s initial silence on the matter drew criticism from Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who said in a SiriusXM radio interview Thursday that the White House must issue an “aggressive” response to the incident.

“This is almost as if you had a Russian bomber flying undetected over the country,” he said, “including over the nation’s capital, and not to respond in a setting like that is really stunning.”

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany acknowledged the breach at a press briefing Tuesday, telling reporters that the government is “taking all necessary steps to identify and remedy any possible issues related to the situation.”

Thumbnail Credit: Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images


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