Published: Fri, August 03, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

U.S. accuses Russian Federation of 'pervasive' election meddling

U.S. accuses Russian Federation of 'pervasive' election meddling

During the briefing, which was also attended by Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, national security adviser John Bolton and National Security Agency chief Paul Nakasone, officials said Trump had "specifically directed us to make the matter of election meddling and securing our election process a top priority".

The Kremlin denies United States claims it meddled in its last presidential election.

But Coats, 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.

Nielsen, declining to name Russian Federation, said only: "I fully share the intelligence community's assessments and past efforts and those today to interfere with our election and of the current threat". Mr. Trump has complained bitterly about Sessions' decision to recuse himself, and he has said he would not have named Sessions attorney general had he known that Sessions would step away from the probe.

Bolton said Thursday that Trump is "leading unprecedented action to punish Russia" for its efforts to disrupt American elections. Trump very much wants the former mayor out there, but that spawns endless cable segments debating what he said (such as denying a pre-meeting before the Trump Tower meeting with a Russian lawyer when no one was talking about whether there was one).

Senator Daniel Coats, who is director of National Intelligence in the US. "We also know that Russians try to hack into and steal information from candidates and government officials alike", he said.

"It is not the kind of robust campaign that we assessed in the 2016 [elections]", Coats said.

Manafort is first ex-Trump aide on trial in Russian Federation probe
They said he was embezzling money and later lied about it to investigators - before agreeing to flip and testify against Manafort. Paul Manafort faces 18 criminal counts, including bank fraud, and could face up to 30 years in jail if found guilty.

He added that agencies were meeting weekly to focus on election security ahead of the mid-term elections in November when most of the US Congress faces the voters.

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 United States democratic institutions and values. "Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy".

President Donald Trump was strongly criticised last month for not condemning alleged Russian actions, while he was in Helsinki.

The negotiations come amid a backdrop of Trump's escalating attacks on the probe, including his blunt declaration that his attorney general should terminate "right now" the federal probe into the campaign that took him to the White House, a newly fervent attack on the special counsel investigation that could imperil his presidency.

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.

The White House wants you to know it's taking threats to U.S. elections seriously. "We're not going to accept meddling in the elections", Nakasone said.

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