Russian efforts to interfere in the coming USA midterm elections have yet to reach the intensity of the Kremlin's campaign to disrupt the 2016 presidential vote, but they're only "a keyboard click away" from a more serious attack, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said on Thursday.
Russian Federation is waging a "pervasive" campaign to undermine democracy and "divide the United States", several of the nation's top intelligence officials said Thursday in their latest castigation of the Kremlin.
'We see Russians are looking for every opportunity, regardless of party, regardless of whether or not it applies to the election to continue their pervasive efforts to undermined the fundamental values, ' Coats said.
The warning to American adversaries came as top USA intelligence and homeland security officials raised alarms about potential efforts to influence the 2018 and 2020 elections.
"Our democracy itself is in the crosshairs", Nielsen said.
Wray would not discuss specific investigations, but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did bring up "inauthentic" pages and accounts that were removed by Facebook on Tuesday, pointing out that they were all anti-Trump.
FILE In this file photo taken on Monday, July 16, 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hand with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the end of the press conference after their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland.
Paul Manafort trial, Alexandria, Virginia
President Donald Trump's former campaign chair, was sent to jail pending a trial after his bail was revoked. In fact, prosecutors said last week they don't expect the word "Russia" to be mentioned at all.
"Russian Collusion with the Trump Campaign, one of the most successful in history, is a TOTAL HOAX", Mr. Trump tweeted on August 1.
John Bolton, the national security adviser, also wrote in a letter to Senate Democrats that "President Trump has not and will not tolerate interference in America's system of representative government".
But Nielsen said US agencies have "seen a willingness and a capability on the part of the Russians" to attack USA election infrastructure.
"Who is the president who said we are going to drive down the cost of energy and make the United States the most efficient oil exporter in the world...? But if anyone helped Russian Federation to hack/steal they deserve justice", said Republican operative Ari Fleischer.
Wray said his agency is working with social media companies as part of their effort.
She noted it's not "unreasonable" for election officials to ask for an ID.
Nielsen said that "our adversaries have shown they have the willingness and capability to interfere in our elections", and "DHS has and continues to work closely with state and local election officials throughout the country by offering a range of services to help identify weaknesses in their election systems".
Then later that week, Coats said he wished Trump had made a "different statement" standing next to Putin.