Florida governor says Russia hacked two counties in 2016

Florida Governor Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisSaudi officer ripped US support of Israel in tweet before naval base shooting: report The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - A crucial week on impeachment FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant MORE (R) said Tuesday that Russian hackers successfully gained access to voter data in two counties during the 2016 presidential election.

DeSantis's remarks come after he met with representatives from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) about Moscow's 2016 cyber efforts in his state, a briefing that came weeks after the release of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE's report about interference in the election.

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Mueller wrote in his report that his office accepted the FBI's assessment that the GRU, Russia's intelligence service, gained "access to the network of at least one Florida county government."

"As many of you know, I recently met with the FBI concerning the election issue mentioned in the Mueller report," DeSantis said during a press conference.

"Two Florida counties experienced intrusion into the Supervisor of Election networks. There was no manipulation or anything, but there was voter data that [hackers were] able to get. Now, that voter data was public anyways. Nevertheless, those were intrusions. It did not affect any voting or anything like that," he continued.

According to the Mueller report, the GRU operatives sent "spearphishing emails to over 120 email accounts used by Florida county officials responsible for administering the 2016 U.S. election." The emails included an attached Word document that had malware coded into it, which allowed the Russian hackers to infect the computers if the attachment was opened.

Mueller noted that his office "did not independently verify" the assessment of the hack from the FBI, which took the lead on the intrusion investigation.

DeSantis said the FBI was working with the two counties at the time, and that the counties' officials knew about the intrusion prior to the 2016 election.

He declined, however, to identify the counties, noting that he had "signed a disclosure agreement.”

“I’m not allowed to name the counties,” DeSantis said.

Florida lawmakers on both sides of the aisle used the announcement to aid their argument that Congress needs to be briefed about the hacks.

"This is exactly why Congress needs to know what Russia did and which counties were involved in their election interference. The FBI briefing @RepStephMurphy and I requested is critical to protect our elections and voters from further attacks,” Rep. Michael WaltzMichael WaltzBill introduced to give special immigrant visas to Kurds who helped US in Syria Republicans storm closed-door hearing to protest impeachment inquiry Overnight Defense: Trump ousts Bolton in shocker | Fallout, reaction from GOP senators | Senate spending talks in chaos | Dems eye vote to nix Trump border emergency MORE (R-Fla.) tweeted, pointing to a bipartisan briefing request he's made with Rep. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyOn The Money: Fed holds rates steady in end to challenging year | Powell says deal on new NAFTA could settle economic jitters | CEOs' economic outlook drops for seventh straight quarter House panel votes to temporarily repeal SALT deduction cap Blue Dogs issue new call for House leaders to abide by pay-go rule MORE (D-Fla.).

—Updated at 12:48 p.m.