US officials raise alarm about election interference ahead of midterms

U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One for travel to Atlanta from Joint Base Andrews

In a rare appearance before the White House press corps, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, FBI Director Christopher Wray, National Security Adviser John Bolton and NSA director General Paul Nakasone all spoke about the Trump administration's efforts to secure the 2018 midterm elections.

Russian Federation is behind a "pervasive messaging campaign" to undermine the November congressional elections and the 2020 presidential election, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Thursday, vowing the Trump administration will "continue to monitor and warn of any such efforts".

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

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

That effort includes three pillars: 1) investigations and operations; 2) information and intelligence sharing, working with worldwide partners to combat threats; and 3) establish strong relationships with the private sector, providing actionable intelligence to technology companies, and meeting with top social media executives "so they can better monitor their own platforms".

US Cyber Command Chief Paul Nakasone said he'd received direct orders from Trump to fight Russian meddling.

Pastor Darrell Scott of Cleveland co-founded Trump's National Diversity Coalition and recently attended a White House meeting with several dozen inner-city faith leaders.

Apparently we're in the same boat as the head of USA intelligence.

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

Interested in White House?

"I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today", Mr Trump said after talks with Mr Putin in Finland on July 16.

Responding to bipartisan criticism that it has no clear national strategy to protect the country during the upcoming midterms and beyond, John Bolton, the national security adviser, wrote in a letter to Senate Democrats that "President Trump has not and will not tolerate interference in America's system of representative government".

Stewart on Thursday said election interference led to improving firewalls around election systems.

"Russia has used numerous ways in which they want to influence, through media, social media, through bots, through actors that they hire, through proxies - all of the above, and potentially more", he said. "Our adversaries have shown they have the willingness and capability to interfere in our elections".

"I've said all along I see no evidence of collusion".

And we're doing everything we can to have a legitimate election that the American people can have trust in, ' said Director of national intelligence Dan Coats.

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