“The White House is well aware of that as we all are and the agencies have been tasked to address this,” Coats added, noting that meetings have also included state and local election officials relative to protections.
While Coats said that it is “highly likely” the Russians will attempt to interfere in the 2018 US midterm elections, he admitted “we just don’t know how much and when, where.”
“We have not seen evidence of a robust effort yet on the part of Russia but we know their malign activities continue.” he said.
Asked Tuesday whether he was concerned Russia could have an effect on the midterms, Trump insisted the US would prevent any election interference efforts.
“No, because we’ll counteract whatever they do,” Trump said.
He also encouraged states to introduce paper based backups to avoid attempts to hack electronic voting systems.
“You have to be very vigilant. One of the things we’re learning, it’s always good to have a paper backup system of voting. Called paper. Not highly complex computers. Paper,” he said.
Coats’ testimony comes just one week after Adm. Mike Rogers — director of the National Security Agency and Cyber Command chief — told lawmakers that he has not been granted the authority by Trump to disrupt Russian election hacking operations where they originate.
“It has not changed the calculus or the behavior on behalf of the Russians,” Rogers said about the US response to Russia’s cyber threat to date.