GOP senator 'concerned' about Russian interference

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGOP senator: Gun control debate 'hasn't changed much at all' back home GOP senators call for Barr to release full results of Epstein investigation FBI Agents Association calls on Congress to make 'domestic terrorism' a federal crime MORE (R-Wis.) said Sunday that while he does not believe President TrumpDonald John Trump Former US ambassador: 'Denmark is not a big fan of Donald Trump and his politics' Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president MORE’s campaign accepted help from Russia, he remains "concerned" about Russian election interference.

"I am every bit as concerned about Russian interference as any Democratic senator," Johnson, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”


Johnson was also asked about a New York Times report that acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week Dick Cheney to attend fundraiser supporting Trump reelection: report Chris Wallace becomes Trump era's 'equal opportunity inquisitor' MORE had told then-Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenDOJ to Supreme Court: Trump decision to end DACA was lawful Top immigration aide experienced 'jolt of electricity to my soul' when Trump announced campaign Trump casts uncertainty over top intelligence role MORE not to discuss Russian interference with Trump, reportedly telling Nielsen it “wasn’t a great subject and should be kept below [the president's] level."

Johnson dismissed the idea that the Trump administration did not take Russian election meddling seriously.

“DHS has been on the case. They've done a pretty successful job. We didn't see that kind of interference in 2018,” he said, referring to the Department of Homeland Security. “And I think we can rest pretty assured that the 2020 will be successful, as well.”

Asked if the responsibility for safeguarding against Russian interference goes beyond DHS, Johnson responded that “DHS has the primary responsibility, and they've done a pretty good job, under [Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director] Chris Krebs.”

Johnson also dismissed the idea that Russian agents could actively change vote totals, calling it “almost impossible” due to local control of elections. He noted that voter files could be more at risk, but said DHS has successfully consulted with state and local authorities to prevent such breaches.

“Let's be vigilant. Let's be concerned about it. But let's not blow it out of proportion, either,” Johnson said.