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Russia Is ‘Keyboard Click’ From Major Election Hack, Coats Warns

03 August 2018

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 US elections.

Top US intelligence agencies, in a January 2017 assessment, had concluded that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

He said: "My guidance and the direction from the President and Secretary of Defence is very clear: We're not going to accept meddling in elections. 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 worldwide action, and to reinforce a strong sanctions regime".

To drive the point home, leaders from four USA intelligence agencies and John Bolton, President Donald Trump's national security adviser, addressed Russian election influence campaigns at a press briefing Thursday.

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

The officials all said that Russian Federation is engaged in continued efforts to meddle in United States elections with influence and misinformation campaigns, but emphasized that it's not yet at the scale that USA intelligence agencies saw in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election.

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The White House wants you to know it's taking threats to USA elections seriously.

Coats said the Russians "are looking for every opportunity, regardless of party" to disrupt US elections.

Noting that adversaries have shown that they have the willingness and the capability to interfere in the US, Nielsen said the government has and continues to work closely with state and local election officials throughout the country, by offering a range of services, to help identify weaknesses in their election systems.

"We have an opportunity to use our voice in a very different way than those in Ukraine", Parkhomenko said.

Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen said democracy "is in the crosshairs". "And we look forward to that happening".

Another former Clinton campaign adviser, Philippe Reines, told The Washington Post that the "common denominator" shared by protesters gathering in front of the White House was a desire to see accountability from leadership in the Trump administration. After suffering a bipartisan outcry, Trump later said he accepted those conclusions.

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Stewart said he expects more Russian attempts to interfere with US elections, saying that weakening trust in the United States here and overseas is part of Putin's strategy to expand Russian influence.

In the days immediately following the Helsinki summit, Trump famously corrected himself, claiming he misspoke when he'd said he didn't see any reason why it "would" be Russian Federation which meddled in the elections.

Of course, Russian Federation did interfere, but "we don't have any evidence at all that they were able to penetrate any voting machines".

No. 3 Senate GOP leader John Thune of South Dakota said, "The idea that they should truncate it doesn't make sense to me".

None of the intelligence officials, however, would be more specific on any Russian activity or on USA efforts to combat it.

When I asked how Trump could even suggest that Sessions take action, since the attorney general has recused himself, Giuliani said: "I think he's talking more generic Justice Department", and that "it would have to be Rosenstein", the deputy attorney general, to take such action.

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Russia Is ‘Keyboard Click’ From Major Election Hack, Coats Warns