DNC Chair Contradicts Obama: Russian Hackers Came After Us 'Until End of Election'

Hackers attempted to break into DNC computers daily and hourly, she said.

ByABC News
December 18, 2016, 11:31 AM

— -- Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile said Russian hackers persisted in trying to break into the organization's computers "daily, hourly" until after the election -- contradicting President Obama's assertion that the hacking stopped in September after he warned Russian President Vladimir Putin to "cut it out."

"They came after us absolutely every day until the end of the election. They tried to hack into our system repeatedly," Brazile told ABC's Martha Raddatz in an exclusive interview on "This Week" Sunday.

Obama said at a press conference Friday that Russia's "tampering" with the U.S. election process stopped in early September after he spoke to Putin at an international conference.

"In early September when I saw president Putin in China, I felt that the most effective way to ensure that that didn't happen was to talk to him directly and tell him to cut it out, and there were going to be serious consequences if he didn't," Obama said. "In fact we did not see further tampering of the election process. But the leaks through Wikileaks had already occurred."

Brazile said she supports Obama's call for a thorough investigation of the hacking but she lamented the administration’s failure to protect the party and its infrastructure.

"We were attacked by a foreign adversary, and I think it’s the responsibility of the government to help individual citizens -- as well as institutions, nonprofits, corporations -- to protect us,” she said.

While critical of President Obama, Brazile also slammed President-elect Donald Trump, accusing him of using information obtained in the hack to "sow division" during the campaign.

"The emails were weaponized," the Democratic chair said of the thousands of emails that were hacked from the DNC and Hillary Clinton campaign staff and then released publicly. "Donald Trump used this information in ways to also sow division. I was very disappointed in his repeated usage some of the stolen information. He used it as if he received daily talking points."

But Brazile refused to blame Russia’s interference in the election for Democrats’ loss.

"I’m not going to sugarcoat what happened on Election Day. We, the Democratic Party have a lot of things that we have to do. Donald Trump cracked the blue wall," she said, referring to the once reliably Democratic-voting states Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. "He cracked the blue wall. We had a blue wall; we should’ve maintained it."

Brazile, who took over as chair months after the cyberattacks had begun, also accepted that the DNC was partly responsible for the hack after leaving itself vulnerable to this kind of intrusion.

“There’s no question; I took full responsibility … I spent the entire month of July, all of August, apologizing because of the leaks,” she said, while highlighting the “appropriate steps” the party took to prevent another attack afterwards.

She added that although she is outraged by the hacking, the country needs to look to the future to ensure it doesn't happen again.

“I’m still outraged by it,” Brazile said. “But I want to make sure that this never happens again because this country deserves to have the kind of cybersecurity experts involved to make sure that our homeland is protected."

In particular, she sent a letter to Congress on Sunday on behalf of the DNC, asking for an independent, bipartisan commission to study the entire episode.

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