Vice President Mike Pence said it is the “accepted view” that despite efforts, the outcome of the 2016 presidential election was not impacted by foreign meddling.
"Irrespective of efforts that were made in 2016 by foreign powers, it is the universal conclusion of our intelligence communities that none of those efforts had any impact on the outcome of the 2016 election,” Pence said at an event in downtown Washington on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, the nation’s top intelligence leaders told Congress that Russian influence efforts in the United States began with the 2016 election, and will continue through this year’s midterm elections and beyond.
"There should be no doubt that Russia perceived that its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian midterm operations," Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday.
President Trump has often cast doubt on the intelligence community’s January 2017 assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. That assessment, however, does not claim that there was or was not any impact.
Coats and other intelligence chiefs Tuesday said they supported the intelligence community’s assessment, and FBI Director Christopher Wray even said that the president had not directed the intelligence community to take steps to prevent further meddling efforts.
Pence on Wednesday echoed Trump’s skepticism, saying it is the “accepted view” that the efforts had no actual impact in 2016.
But, the vice president offered a caveat.
“It doesn’t mean that there weren’t efforts, and we do know there were — there were efforts by Russia and likely by other countries,” Pence said, adding “We take that very seriously.”
Pence said the intelligence agencies will talk with the administration "going forward [...] to ensure and maintain the integrity of our election system.”