Russian Federation is continuing efforts to interfere in USA politics: intel chief

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03 August, 2018

But Mr Coats, Mr Bolton, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and the director of the National Security Agency Paul Nakasone, said Russian Federation was to blame, along with other foreign actors.

President Donald Trump on Thursday defended his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin last month and decried the "Russian hoax", speaking at a rally just hours removed from his top national security officials decrying Russian attempts to influence USA elections.

"We have not seen that kind of robust campaign from them so far", Coats said in a briefing at the White House.

Mr Coats said Russian Federation was not the only country that was trying to intervene in USA elections, without elaborating.

The warning to American adversaries came as top US intelligence and homeland security officials raised alarms about potential efforts to influence the 2018 and 2020 elections.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen also discussed the threat, saying free and fair elections are the cornerstone of democracy.

They, along with National Security Agency director Gen. Paul Nakasone and FBI Director Christopher Wray, appeared at the White House Thursday to try to reassure the American people they are doing everything in their power to address the threat.

FBI Director Chris Wray added Russian Federation was using "traditional intelligence trade craft" and computer hacking to try and influence United States elections.

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He said Russian Federation was not the only country working to undermine American elections. "But if anyone helped Russian Federation to hack/steal they deserve justice", said Republican operative Ari Fleischer.

Trump has voiced skepticism about Russia's role in USA election meddling, drawing accusations from Democrats and Republicans alike that he is ignoring a threat to American democracy.

Senate Democrats criticized Republicans over election security this week after GOPs blocked an amendment offered by Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to provide $250 million in election security grants to states.

That's why Trump's tweets and news conference performance are "so frustrating to me because it clouded that reality, and fell into this image that he prefers a strongman like Vladimir Putin, who we know is a KGB thug", he said.

Facebook Inc said on Tuesday it had uncovered a new coordinated political influence campaign to mislead its users and sow dissension among voters ahead of congressional elections.

Trump has taken "decisive actions to heighten the security" of our election systems, Bolton said.

U.S. intelligence agencies have found that Russian Federation in 2016 launched an effort to hurt Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and ultimately to help Trump win.

"Jared is working on a lot of very important things, this has become I think just about number one on your list - who would have thought?"


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