Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday that the U.S. government needs to do more to prevent future intrusions into its elections, and agreed to look into the issue further in response to questions from House lawmakers.
At a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Sessions said he has not sought a review of laws that might need to be updated to protect from foreign election interference. But he said he was willing to work with Congress to "deal with the deficiencies we have."
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., pressed Sessions for more work in that area, and she was joined by other Democrats who also wanted more of an effort.
In response to a question from Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., Sessions said the government is "not anywhere near where I would like us to be” on updating such laws to protect elections.
Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., chided Sessions for not being able to give a full answer on what is being done to protect the integrity of future elections, and Sessions promised to look into it.
“You raise a good point,” Sessions said. "I have not followed through to see where we are on that. I will personally take action to do so.”
Sessions acknowledged that this issue “is important.”
“I should be able to give you better information today than I am,” he added.
The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, although President Trump has downplayed that assessment by saying it's mostly a way for Democrats to deflect from their loss last year.
Over the weekend in Vietnam, Trump said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin in his denials that Russia did not seek to interfere in the election, but does believe the conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community. Those comments came after he called U.S. intelligence leaders “political hacks.”
“I have no basis to dispute” the assessment that Russia interfered, Sessions said Tuesday. When asked if he agreed with Trump calling intelligence leaders “political hacks,” Sessions deflected by saying Trump "speaks his mind.”