US officials raise alarm about 2018, 2020 election security

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

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Coats and Nielsen were joined by Director of the National Security Agency Gen. Paul Nakasone, National Security Adviser John Bolton, and Federal Bureau of Investigation director Christopher Wray.

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 U.S. intelligence agencies saw in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election.

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

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told reporters that: "The intelligence community continues to be concerned, both about the midterms and the 2020 presidential election".

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".

"Our democracy is in the crosshairs", Ms Nielsen said, adding that the cyberthreat now exceeded the danger of a physical attack against the USA by a hostile foreign group.

National security advisor John Bolton speaks at the daily press briefing at the White House on Thursday.

The protests began on July 16 after Trump made controversial comments he later clarified that appeared to support Russia's explanation for election meddling over the conclusion of US intelligence agencies.

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Russian Federation and unnamed others are still seeking to influence U.S. midterm elections through messaging and sowing division, heads of the ODNI, FBI, DHS, and NSA told reporters, pledging to protect democracy but offering no details.

During an interview Monday July 23, 2018, Palazchenko declined to call the latest Helsinki meeting between US President Trump and Russian President Putin an outright failure, but said there seems a lack of clarity on exactly what the two agreed on.

"I know Director Wray wasn't at liberty to speak about the specifics, and I can't get into a lot of them, but I can tell you that a number of them were anti-President Trump, and that certainly isn't helping Republicans", Sanders said.

Mr Bolton also wrote to Senate Democrats, saying Mr Trump "has not and will not tolerate interference in America's system of representative government".

Bolton said Thursday that Trump is "leading unprecedented action to punish Russia" for its efforts to disrupt American elections.

However, the statement comes just weeks after Trump caused outrage by suggesting, following a meeting with Putin, that Russian Federation wouldn't have "any reason" to hack U.S. elections. "We discussed everything. We got along really well". "Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy".

"It's important to understand", Wray cautioned, "this is not just an election-cycle threat".

"I've had the honor and privilege to work with then-candidate and now-President Trump and to observe him behind the scenes and have personal conversations with him, and people ask me why do I defend him so vociferously, and I say it's easy for me to do it because I know him", Scott said.

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