White House asserts 'vast' effort to protect elections

The White House briefing opened with Coats, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, National Security Agency Director Gen. Paul Nakasone and National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton commenting on current administration efforts to secure the midterm elections.

"We're here to tell the American people that we acknowledged the threat, it is real, it is continuing and we're doing everything we can to have an election the American people can have trust in", Coats said.

President Donald Trump introduced a new lie to his repertoire Thursday night at a campaign in Pennsylvania, even as he attacked the media for supposedly spreading lies about him.

Karl also pointed to President Trump's claims that the Russians would attempt to boost Democrats in the midterms and questioned if there "has been any evidence whatsoever that". Pavel Palazhchenko was a constant presence as chief interpreter for Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, and watched from Moscow to see how the latest chapter in the US-Soviet story would unfold.

"Russian Collusion with the Trump Campaign, one of the most successful in history, is a TOTAL HOAX", Trump tweeted Wednesday in the context of other tweets about Manafort. Wray made a distinction between threats to elections integrity and what he called influence operations, saying that the bureau was working to counter both.

"Our letter to Ambassador Bolton urged him and the Trump administration to fully implement the sanctions on Russia that Congress already passed, extradite the 12 Russian government officials indicted by Special Counsel Mueller, and commit to protecting diplomats and other USA personnel - both past and present", a Thursday statement from the senators read.

On Thursday, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats suggested he was never briefed on what President Donald Trump said Vladimir Putin during their private meeting at the Helsinki summit.

Wray added that Russian and other foreign actors are trying to suppress voting, provide illegal campaign financing and carry out cyberattacks.

"Our democracy itself is in the crosshairs", Nielsen said.

Stewart, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said he's often asked what he sees as the biggest threats to the U.S. Quoting a now retired military commander, he said Russian Federation is the only existential threat, North Korea is the most risky and China is the most complicated.

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

Right before the briefing began, the White House released a letter Bolton sent to Senate Democrats about election interference.

Facebook Inc said on Tuesday it had uncovered a new coordinated political influence campaign to mislead its users and sow dissension among voters ahead of congressional elections.

She noted it's not "unreasonable" for election officials to ask for an ID.

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

  • Joey Payne