(CNN) – Alarming new details showing that Russia’s hacking of the 2016 election extended far beyond the presidential race.
Democratic Party officials arguing that republican campaign attack ads like this one, show that GOP congressional candidates knowingly took advantage of hacked materials in house races.
“I think republicans were accomplices so a major cyber-crime against American democracy. This was done with surgical precision. It was well-timed with one intent. And that was to disrupt house democratic campaigns and influence the outcome,” said Rep. Steve Israel.
In August the head of the democratic congressional campaign committee wrote to his republican counterpart that the use of the documents stolen by the Russians plays right into the hands of one of the United States’ most dangerous adversaries, but to no avail.
“Taking advantage of information that’s been hacked is a very slippery slope. It is a huge danger to the electoral process,” said Col. Cedric Leighton.
Now many democratic and republican lawmakers are calling the hacking an act of war.
“Cyberattacks, when you destroy or impact the ability of a nation to function, that is an act of war,” said Sen. John McCain.
President-elect Trump, however, continues to dismiss any Russian involvement, despite the intelligence community’s public announcement blaming Russia more than a month before the election, “I mean, it could be Russia. It could also be China, could also be lots of other people. Could also be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, okay.”
The White House accused Mr. Trump of deliberately encouraging a state-sponsored cyberattack on the presidential race.
“He was obviously aware and concluded, based on whatever facts or sources he was — he had available to him, that Russia was involved, and their involvement was having a negative impact on his opponent’s campaign,” said Josh Earnest.
Still, it is also clear that the Democratic Party failed to grasp the full scope of the attacks, after detecting the first cyber breach, more than a year before the election, in august 2015.
Even as evidence mounted, the White House delayed naming Russia for fear of being seen as politically motivated.
During his presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly made the claim the election was rigged against him, an allegation Obama said was harmful for democracy.
Copyright CNN 2016