Saturday, 17 November, 2018

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

U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One for travel to Atlanta from Joint Base Andrews Florida police release body cam video of deadly shooting
Charlie Simmons | 03 August, 2018, 13:15

Numerous nation's top intelligence officials made a surprise appearance in the White House press briefing Thursday to send a message from the podium that President Donald Trump and the rest of the USA government are prepared to take on foreign election interference, including from Russian Federation.

Coats also said the Russian interference, thus far, in 2018 is not up to the level of their work in the presidential contest, where they are accused of aiding Trump win the White House by running an influence campaign in his favor, mainly through social media channels.

The top aides, including intelligence director Dan Coats and national security adviser John Bolton, appeared in the White House briefing room to stress that a major effort was under way to protect the integrity of congressional elections in November and the 2020 presidential election.

Coats said that Russia's intent goes beyond elections; their intent is "to undermine our democratic values, drive a wedge between our allies, and do a number of other nefarious things".

Russian Federation is not the only country that has an interest in trying to influence American domestic political environment, a top United States spymaster has said, while asserting the Trump Administration was taking concrete steps to prevent such efforts, both for the mid-term elections in November and for the 2020 presidential polls.

FBI Director Wray said the Federal Bureau of Investigation has instituted a new foreign influence task force created to identify and counteract the "full range of malign foreign influence operations", targeting U.S. democratic institutions and values.

Mr Coats was asked if he was accusing rogue Russian individuals or the Kremlin itself of intervening in U.S. elections.

'We know that through decades Russian Federation has tried to use the propaganda to sow discord in America. They seriously stepped up their game though in 2016, Coats explained.

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White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is scheduled to hold a briefing today at around10 AM PT, though she's usually fashionably late.

A senior USA official said the Russian meddling campaign had accelerated and grown more sophisticated since the 2016 election and was not directed at boosting one political party over another.

The relationship between Sessions and the president has been strained for more than a year, since the attorney general recused himself from investigations relating to the 2016 election because of Sessions' role on the Trump campaign.

FBI Director Christopher Wray agreed that progress is being made.

Amid the criticism from both sides of the political aisle, Mr Trump's personal attorneys also sought to walk back the comment, insisting the president was not ordering Sessions to do anything.

FILE - In this Thursday, May 25, 2017 file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg take a seat during a working dinner at a NATO summit in Brussels. "Why didn't government tell me that he was under investigation". Now states make their own rules. "I said, whatever happened to diplomacy?"

Voting rights groups argue voter ID laws disproportionately target and disenfranchise minorities.

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