Florida governor says Russia hacked two counties in 2016

Florida Governor Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisFlorida gov says arrested Giuliani associate was seen as a top Trump supporter in the state Backlash erupts at video depicting Trump killing media, critics WHCA calls on Trump to denounce video depicting him shooting media outlets 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 MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE's report about interference in the election.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 WaltzOvernight Defense: Trump ousts Bolton in shocker | Fallout, reaction from GOP senators | Senate spending talks in chaos | Dems eye vote to nix Trump border emergency GOP lawmaker criticizes Trump's planned meeting with Taliban in US Senators introduce legislation to boost cyber defense training in high school MORE (R-Fla.) tweeted, pointing to a bipartisan briefing request he's made with Rep. Stephanie MurphyStephanie MurphyLawmakers set to host fundraisers focused on Nats' World Series trip House Democrats change drug pricing bill in bid to address progressive concerns Hillicon Valley: Zuckerberg to testify on Libra | Extremists find home on Telegram app | Warren blasts Facebook for not removing anti-Biden ad | California outlaws facial recognition in police body cameras | China rips US tech sanctions MORE (D-Fla.).

—Updated at 12:48 p.m.