Report: Foreign Meddling Had No 'Material Impact' on Midterm Election
A classified U.S. government report on foreign interference in the 2018 Congressional elections has concluded that outside meddling had no "material impact" on the integrity and security of the vote, leaving open the question as to whether there will be any sanctions for foreign influence campaigns.
While the specific conclusions of the report by the Justice and Homeland Security Departments remain classified, the two agencies said in a statement on Tuesday they found "no evidence to date that any identified activities of a foreign government or foreign agent had a material impact on the integrity or security of election infrastructure or political/campaign infrastructure" used in the midterms.
The two agencies did not say whether foreign influence campaigns targeting American voters were successful in affecting the outcome of the election, a question which U.S. intelligence officials have said they have not attempted to answer.
The report was prepared under an executive order President Donald Trump signed in September, authorizing sanctions on foreign actors in the event of interference in a U.S. election. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen delivered the report to Trump on Monday.
The report's "findings will help drive future efforts to protect election and political/campaign infrastructure from foreign interference," the statement said.
The report comes 45 days after the Office of the Director of National Intelligence concluded that Russia, China and Iran sought to meddle in the election, but their actions did not compromise the "nation's election infrastructure that would have prevented voting, changed vote counts, or disrupted the ability to tally votes."
Director Dan Coats said at the time that U.S. intelligence did find "Russia, and other foreign countries, including China and Iran, conducted influence activities and messaging campaigns targeted at the United States to promote their strategic interests."
But Coats said the intelligence community "did not make an assessment of the impact that these activities had on the outcome of the 2018 election."
Under Trump's executive order, Homeland Security and Justice had 45 days to review ODNI's findings and recommend "remedial actions" by the U.S. government.
It remains unclear whether the report will trigger any elections-related sanctions against any country.
Spokespersons for the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security did not respond to requests for comment.