DOJ likely to issue public report on foreign election interference in July

DOJ likely to issue public report on foreign election interference in July
© Greg Nash

The Department of Justice is likely to issue a public report next month on foreign efforts to interfere in U.S. elections and how to combat them, a top official told lawmakers on Tuesday. 

The report would represent the first public product of the department’s effort to study foreign government efforts to meddle in elections, and would come nearly five months after Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSantorum: Mueller could avoid charges of McCarthyism by investigating DOJ, FBI 8,000 new ways the Trump administration is undermining immigration court independence Watergate's John Dean rips Trump: I doubt you have any idea what McGahn told Mueller MORE set up a task force to assess the threat landscape.

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Adam Hickey, the deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s national security division, told senators Tuesday that the task force would submit a report on election interference efforts to Sessions at the end of June. After that, he said he anticipates that the department would issue a public version of the document.

“I anticipate then the department will issue a public report in mid-July,” Hickey told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I expect that report will provide additional insight into how the department intends to apply longstanding principles and policies in the sensitive context of foreign influence operations.”

Hickey provided few further details on what either report would contain. 

Sessions convened a cyber-digital task force in February, as the administration faced criticism from Democrats to do more to address future foreign interference following Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 vote. 

Sessions broadly directed the task force to study a range of malicious cyber activity, including efforts to interfere in elections, efforts to interfere with U.S. critical infrastructure, data theft, and the use of the internet to spread “violent ideologies.”

Hickey stressed on Tuesday that election security is a "priority" of Sessions as attorney general. 

He appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday for a hearing examining federal law enforcement efforts to combat election interference.