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

Saul Bowman
August 3, 2018

Wray would not discuss specific investigations, but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did bring up "inauthentic" pages and accounts that were removed by Facebook on Tuesday, pointing out that they were all anti-Trump.

Wray told reporters that compared to 2016, in 2018, "We are not yet seeing the same kind of efforts to specifically target election infrastructure", but that other efforts to influence public opinion continue.

During Thursday's White House press briefing, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said his agency is meeting weekly with other agencies ahead of November's midterms.

Coats was among five top national security leaders - including National Security Adviser John Bolton, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and General Paul Nakasone, director of the National Security Agency - who blasted Russian efforts to interfere in USA elections. "We also know the Russians tried to hack into and steal information from candidates and government officials alike", Coats declared.

Ms Nielsen said: "Our democracy itself is in the crosshairs".

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.

"We implore the administration to take this very real and imminent threat to our elections and our democracy more seriously", said a statement from Schumer and other Democratic leaders.

When it comes to electronic voting machines, DHS' Nielsen said that the focus is on helping states make sure their machines can be audited after elections.

Stewart said when he made his predictions, he was asked about who he thought Russian Federation wanted to win the election. "Our adversaries have shown they have the willingness and capability to interfere in our elections".

Both Republicans and Democrats have criticized the administration's response as fragmented, without enough coordination across federal agencies.

Their rare appearance during a White House briefing came as a display of resolve, weeks after Trump publicly undermined the conclusions of American intelligence agencies regarding Russian interference.

"The president has made it clear that his administration will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections from any nation-state or other risky actors", Sanders said at the beginning of the briefing. When asked to explain this, the DNI chief said "I'm not in a position to either understand fully or talk about what happened in Helsinki".

They said: "Russians are exhausted of the policy of confrontation with the West, which has been going on for several years and has resulted in the decline of people's incomes".

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

Mr Trump has insisted there was no collusion between his campaign and Russian Federation in an attempt to sway the 2016 election in his favour.

On Thursday, Bolton said he meets with Trump on the issue of blocking interference in the 2018 campaign "constantly" and privately raised concerns with Putin during their meeting.

Trump also lamented the supposed poor treatment of Manafort, who was placed in solitary confinement, "although convicted of nothing", implying that he's being treated worse than Al Capone.

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