US officials raise alarm about 2018, 2020 election security

Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki summit

USA intelligence officials including Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, national security adviser John Bolton, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and National Security Agency Director Paul Nakasone appeared together during the White House press briefing where they said they were working with state and local election officials to protect voting systems from threats by Russian Federation and other foreign actors.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said he's "not in a position to either understand fully or talk about what happened at Helsinki" between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin as he warned about malign activities from the Kremlin meant to influence the November vote.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee who has criticized Trump for not taking a stronger leadership role on election security, said he was heartened by the White House news conference.

On Thursday, Coats reiterated that Russian Federation is "looking for every opportunity, regardless of party" to disrupt USA elections.

Russian Federation is not the only country that has an interest in trying to influence American domestic political environment, a top United States spymaster has said, while asserting the Trump Administration was taking concrete steps to prevent such efforts, both for the mid-term elections in November and for the 2020 presidential polls.

A slew of top United States officials including Coats, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen vowed to investigate and prosecute those who were trying to sway U.S. opinion or carrying out what Wray described as "information warfare".

"Russian Collusion with the Trump Campaign, one of the most successful in history, is a TOTAL HOAX", the president said Wednesday.

'We know that through decades Russian Federation has tried to use the propaganda to sow discord in America.

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In a letter to Congress, National Security Advisor John Bolton said the administration had taken "extensive, historic action" to stop the threat. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russian Federation than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats.

Mr Coats said the efforts were less robust so far than in 2016, and did not appear directed at a single party.

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.

'I do think progress is being made, ' Wray said.

The president also is pushing for a voter ID law.

Interested in White House?

When pressed by reporters on how she tells the difference between a presidential order or an opinion, Sanders said Trump makes his intentions "pretty clear". "We're not going to accept meddling in the elections", Nakasone said.

"This is about exploiting the fault lines that exist in our society and building on what was done in 2016, and it isn't confined to the internet - it includes print and television, as well, in some cases using existing platforms that predate the 2016 election", the official said.

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