Virginia’s U.S. Senator Mark Warner, vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russia’s role interfering in U.S. elections, confirmed at a Capitol Hill press conference Wednesday that the Russians’ efforts remain active and could impact the Virginia gubernatorial and other state races on the ballot next month. Warner, and Senate Intelligence Committee chair Sen. Richard Burr, criticized the Department of Homeland Security for delaying until just last week the release of its findings that the Russians attempted to penetrate the electoral processes in 21 U.S. states, including Virginia. Warner praised the Virginia Department of Elections for acting proactively to decertify voting machines that failed to have “paper trails” in jurisdictions throughout the state, including in the City of Falls Church. The decertification order came just in time to allow for the substitution of new voting machines with such “paper trails” in advance of the beginning of absentee balloting last month.
Insofar as Warner and Burr emphasized their committee’s objective to have a comprehensive report made public prior to the commencement of primary elections in 2018, yesterday’s press conference might have been motivated by a desire to address the November 2017 elections in Virginia and New Jersey.
Warner and Burr stressed that the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation concurred with the intelligence community assessment that the Russians engaged in widespread active measures to meddle with the November 2016 U.S. presidential election to the end of seeking the election of Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. No initial conclusions about collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign have yet been established, however, they said.