President Trump held a meeting with top advisors on Friday to discuss security for the upcoming 2018 midterm elections, but the only reported result was a statement reiterating the administration's stance that it will not tolerate outside interference.
This meeting took place with fewer than 100 days to go before the polls open, and as two senators reported their offices were the targets of a cyberattack.
The White House said Trump and a bevy of cabinet-level administrators, including Vice President Michael Pence, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats,
discussed the potential threats facing the election cycle, as well as current plans and efforts to ensure that the election is not influenced by any outside sources. This includes continuing to supply funding and support to states and local governments to secure their elections, the statement said.
“The President has made it clear that his Administration will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections from any nation-state or other malicious actors,” according to a statement released by the White House.
Earlier in the week, The Daily Beast reported Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., had been the focus of a phishing attack by the known Russian APT group Fancy Bear -- an action confirmed by the senator. On July 29, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., went public with a similar report saying her office was subject to at least one phishing attack, CBS News reported.
The White House statement did not address either of these incidents.
In a mid-July report made at the Aspen Security Forum that predates either of these public disclosures, Microsoft's Vice President for Customer Security Tom Burt said his company had spotted phishing attacks targeting certain politicians' campaign staffers, hoping to lure them to a fake Microsoft domain and swipe their credentials.
“Earlier this year, we did discover that a fake Microsoft domain had been established as the landing page for phishing attacks," Burt said, adding that the metadata “suggested” the attacks were aimed at three midterm election hopefuls.
Trump himself has continuously gone back and forth when it comes to stating whether or not Russia has meddled in past U.S. elections. He stated most recently that he does believe the Russians will try and have some impact in November, but to help the Democrats defeat Republicans.
Meanwhile, various U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies have put together a long list of evidence supporting the idea that Russia indeed attempted to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.