Published: Fri, August 03, 2018
World News | By Joan Terry

White House officials: Russian election meddling is happening again

White House officials: Russian election meddling is happening again

"The President has specifically directed us to make the matter of election meddling and securing our election process a top priority", Coats said.

The threat is coming not only from Russian Federation but other governments, the officials said at the White House.

Asked this week how confident he was in the integrity of election systems ahead of the fall midterms, the No. 2 Republican, Sen.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said he's "not in a position to either understand fully or talk about what happened at Helsinki" between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin as he warned about malign activities from the Kremlin meant to influence the November vote.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton, FBI Director Chris Wray, National Security Agency Director Paul Nakasone and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen also spoke at Thursday's White House news conference.

He added that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was working closely with social media companies ahead of the mid-term elections.

The US government on Thursday (Aug 2) accused Russian Federation of carrying out a "pervasive" campaign to influence public opinion and elections, in a warning just months before crucial legislative polls.

"We're aware that Russian Federation is not the only country that has an interest in trying to influence our domestic political environment", Coats said, though he declined to be more specific. "It is ongoing with the intent to achieve their intent, and that is drive a wedge and undermine our democratic values".

Top security and cabinet officials recently outlined the joint effort to safeguard the country's elections. United States intelligence agencies concluded shortly after the presidential election that year that Russia's intelligence services conducted cyber operations against both major USA political parties.

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

"This includes measures to heighten the security and resilience of election systems and processes, to confront Russian and other foreign malign influence in the United States, to confront such aggression through global action, and to reinforce a strong sanctions regime".

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that President Trump has "every right" to be "deeply" frustrated that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russian Federation probe. Trump was heavily criticized for not chastising Russian Federation for the interference at a news conference with Putin.

Years after the Miss Universe pageant, Agalarov publicist Rob Goldstone reached out to Donald Trump Jr. on behalf of the family to arrange a meeting with Russian officials in which they would offer dirt on then-rival candidate Hillary Clinton in the months before the 2016 presidential election.

Wray said some examples of what law enforcement have seen is the targeting USA officials through traditional intelligence, criminal efforts to suppress voting and illegal campaign financing.

"Fire Mueller and we fire you", countered House Intelligence Committee member Eric Swalwell, D-Calif.

America's enemies are also "targeting elected officials and others ... overtly and covertly manipulating news stories, spreading disinformation, leveraging economic resources, and escalating divisive issues", he continued.

Mr Wray said the FBI had opened investigations into election interference.

"This is not just an election cycle threat", Wray said.

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