Eliot Engel on Russian Hackings: 'I Only Know What I'm Reading in the Newspapers'

December 12, 2016

Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel (N.Y.), the ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Monday that he only knows what he reads in the newspapers when asked whether he had heard from intelligence sources about Russia's alleged intent to put Donald Trump in the White House through cyber attacks.

The Obama administration in October accused Russia of hacking into American political systems, including the Democratic National Committee's computer networks, to influence the 2016 election. The U.S. intelligence community and Department of Homeland Security found cyber actors linked to the Russian government responsible for the attacks.

The DNC hack resulted in the public release of several damning emails, which led to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.) being forced to resign as chairwoman of the DNC because of messages showing top party officials working to help Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary.

The email account of Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, was also breached, and his messages were leaked through WikiLeaks.

The CIA reportedly found that the Russia hacks were part of an effort to help put Donald Trump in the White House, a conclusion that the president-elect strongly rejects.

"Did you hear from intelligence sources that Russia's intent was to put Donald Trump in the White House?" CNN host Carol Costello asked Engel on Monday.

"I haven't heard from intelligence sources," Engel said. "I only know what I'm reading in the newspapers, but intelligence sources have not contacted members of Congress. I'm calling on the intelligence sources to brief the members of Congress to give us a thorough briefing as to what they know and why they came to the conclusion that they came with."

Engel also said he believes that congressional committees should hold hearings to investigate the Russian breaches more thoroughly.

"We've had all kinds of hearings about Benghazi, about Planned Parenthood, about Hillary Clinton's emails. I certainly think that the House ought to do hearings involving this very, very serious breach," Engel said.