Senate Homeland chair: CIA won't brief me on Russia election hacking

Sen. Johnson: US needs to stop Russia from trying to destablize Western democracies

Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson told CNBC on Friday he has not seen the evidence of Russia-led hacking to interfere with the U.S. presidential election, but said such moves from Moscow would not be surprising.

"First of all, who can discern the motives. I frankly have not seen the evidence that it was actually Russia. I'm assuming that's true," the Wisconsin Republican said on "Squawk Box."

Johnson said he has asked the CIA for a briefing. "They refused to give it to me."

He said Russian President Vladimir Putin has been trying to destabilize democracies in Europe for years, with propaganda aimed a making voters doubt the veracity of any news reports and information from governments.

"We do know, in Eastern Europe and other places, they are spreading disinformation. Their goal is to destabilize regimes and to really get the public in different countries to believe nothing is true. You can't relay on any piece of information," Johnson said.

President Barack Obama is set to hold a news conference Friday afternoon. In excerpts of an NPR interview released Thursday evening, Obama promised a U.S. response to the Russia hacking.

While Obama has been threatening "serious consequences" against Russia, he's yet to act, the Homeland Security Committee chairman said. "Obviously Vladimir Putin is not shaking in his boots."

"We have offensive capabilities," Johnson said. "I think very quietly through diplomatic channels and other channels we ought to be laying out ... exactly what the consequences are going to be, and if this continues and if something happens we quietly enact those types of consequences."

The Kremlin said Friday that Washington should either prove the accusations or drop the issue.

Johnson said intelligence blaming Russia for hacking after Donald Trump won the election seems like it could be politically motivated.

"I am looking forward to working with the new administration who will approach the Russians and the Chinese and the Iranians from a position of strength, rather than having a strategy of basically withdrawal," the senator said.

"That's why we've been so weak, and these people like Russia so aggressive."