The Latest: US says Russia meddling not ‘robust’ as 2016
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and election security (all times local):
National Intelligence Director Dan Coats says the U.S. intelligence community has not seen the same kind of “robust campaign” by Russia to interfere in the 2018 elections compared to the 2016 presidential election.
Coats is addressing reporters Thursday during a White House briefing on the Trump Administration’s efforts to prevent future foreign and outside interference in U.S. elections.
Coats says Russia “stepped up their game big-time in 2016” to meddle in the election. But he says intelligence officials aren’t seeing the same kinds of robust efforts to interfere in the fall midterm election.
National Security Adviser John Bolton says President Donald Trump has directed a “vast, government-wide effort” to protect American elections after Russian attempts to interfere in 2016.
In a letter to Senate Democrats Thursday, he says: “President Trump has not and will not tolerate interference in America’s system of representative government.”
Top U.S. intelligence and homeland security officials are raising alarms about potential efforts to influence the 2018 and 2020 elections. Homeland security chief Kirstjen Nielsen says: “Our democracy is in the crosshairs.”
Bolton’s letter comes weeks after Trump publicly undermined the conclusions of American intelligence agencies regarding Russian interference. After suffering a bipartisan outcry, Trump later said he accepted those conclusions.
Bolton now says Trump is “leading unprecedented action to punish Russia” for its efforts to disrupt American elections.