Report: Foreign Meddling Had No 'Material Impact' on Midterm Election
February 05, 2019
A classified U.S. government report on foreign interference in the 2018
Congressional elections has concluded that outside meddling had no
"material impact" on the integrity and security of the vote, leaving
open the question as to whether there will be any sanctions for foreign
While the specific conclusions of the report by the Justice and Homeland
Security Departments remain classified, the two agencies said in a
statement on Tuesday they found "no evidence to date that any identified
activities of a foreign government or foreign agent had a material
impact on the integrity or security of election infrastructure or
political/campaign infrastructure" used in the midterms.
The two agencies did not say whether foreign influence campaigns
targeting American voters were successful in affecting the outcome of
the election, a question which U.S. intelligence officials have said
they have not attempted to answer.
The report was prepared under an executive order President Donald Trump
signed in September, authorizing sanctions on foreign actors in the
event of interference in a U.S. election. Acting Attorney General
Matthew Whitaker and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen
delivered the report to Trump on Monday.
The report's "findings will help drive future efforts to protect
election and political/campaign infrastructure from foreign
interference," the statement said.
The report comes 45 days after the Office of the Director of National
Intelligence concluded that Russia, China and Iran sought to meddle in
the election, but their actions did not compromise the "nation's
election infrastructure that would have prevented voting, changed vote
counts, or disrupted the ability to tally votes."
Dan Coats said at the time that U.S. intelligence did find "Russia, and
other foreign countries, including China and Iran, conducted influence
activities and messaging campaigns targeted at the United States to
promote their strategic interests."
But Coats said the intelligence community "did not make an assessment of
the impact that these activities had on the outcome of the 2018
Under Trump's executive order, Homeland Security and Justice had 45 days
to review ODNI's findings and recommend "remedial actions" by the U.S.
It remains unclear whether the report will trigger any elections-related
sanctions against any country.
Spokespersons for the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security did
not respond to requests for comment.