Republicans are now admitting that Russia was able to access the voter rolls of "at least one Florida county" in the 2016 election, something confirmed in the Mueller report. They're calling everything a hoax and a lie but not this. The question is why.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told The New York Times on Friday that hackers penetrated a Florida county’s elections system in 2016.
Rubio's comments come a week after special counsel Robert Mueller’s report revealed that Russians sent malicious software to Florida county government officials overseeing the 2016 election.
Rubio, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told the Times that there was an intrusion into a county’s elections system but that the target or targets were not notified.
He said national security officials opted to issue a blanket warning about hacking efforts as a way to protect intelligence methods.
"Everybody has been told what it is they need to do to protect themselves from the intrusion," Rubio said. "I don’t believe the specific victims of the intrusion have been notified. The concern was that in a number of counties across the country, there are a couple of people with the attitude of: 'We’ve got this; we don’t need your help. We don’t think we need to do what you are telling us we need to do.'"
Rubio told the newspaper that the hackers were "in a position" to change voter roll data, but it does not appear they did so.
"My biggest concern is that on Election Day you go vote and have mass confusion because voter registration information has been deleted from the systems," he said.
Rubio and former Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) wrote a letter to Florida’s top elections official last year calling on him to seek federal assistance in securing the state’s elections systems.
A spokesperson for Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) told The Hill on Friday that "the FBI has reached out and is working on scheduling a briefing with Senator Scott in the next few weeks" to brief him and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) about the hacking detailed in Mueller’s report.
The "why" appears to be Rubio's "did not appear to do so" caveat when it came to Russians changing voter rolls. We haven't seen Mueller's counter-intelligence report, and if it turns out that Russians did interfere with voter rolls in order to say, disenfranchise black voters (more than Republicans already regularly did) in Florida and other states, then the call for Trump's resignation may very well become a tsunami.
Republicans are scrambling in other words to get out ahead of what appears to be lethal news for them.
Stay tuned. This is going at the core of the collusion argument.