Several of the nation’s top security officials joined the White House press briefing Thursday to issue an unprecedented warning about foreign meddling ahead of the upcoming midterm elections.
“Our focus today is simply to tell the American people we acknowledge the threat. It is real. It is continuing, and we’re doing everything we can to have a legit election that the American people can have trust in,” Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, said.
Russia was named as the main, but not the only, culprit.
“Russia is not the only country that has an interest in trying to influence our domestic political environment. We know there are others who have the capability and may be considering influence activities,” Coats said.
“This threat is not going away. As I have said consistently, Russia attempted to interfere with the last election and continues to engage in malign influence operations to this day. This is a threat we need to take extremely seriously and to tackle and respond to with fierce determination and focus,” added FBI Director Christopher Wray.
The annoucnement follows a Senate appeal for action, and Facebook’s revelation of a foreign influence campaign designed to divide America ahead of the midterm elections.
The president has repeatedly dismissed or downplayed Russian interference, focusing instead on discrediting claims of collusion between Russia and his own campaign.
Special counsel Robert Mueller is now reportedly negotiating terms of a sitdown interview with the president, offering to narrow the topics to collusion and obstruction.
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