USA officials raise alarm about election interference ahead of midterms

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at a Make America Great Again Rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa Florida

Numerous nation's top intelligence officials made a surprise appearance in the White House press briefing Thursday to send a message from the podium that President Donald Trump and the rest of the USA government are prepared to take on foreign election interference, including from Russian Federation.

"Russia attempted to interfere with the last election and continues to engage in malign influence operations to this day", said Wray.

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.

Top U.S. intelligence and Homeland Security officials took questions from the media Thursday as they raised the alarm about potential efforts to influence the 2018 and 2020 elections.

Homeland security chief Kirstjen Nielsen said: "Our democracy is in the crosshairs".

Daily protests outside the White House that began during President TrumpDonald John TrumpPro-Trump pastor: Trump is "the most pro-black" president I've ever seen Trump renews calls for interview with Mueller: report CNN's Acosta: Hannity is "injecting poison into the nation's political bloodstream" MORE's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki have reached their third week of nightly demonstrations. Stewart added Trump was wrong when he sided more with Putin than the USA intelligence community about Russian interference in elections, and wishes his corrections were more forceful.

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

"We know there are others who have the capability and may be considering influence activities", he said. "We're not going to accept meddling in the elections", Nakasone said.

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Trump, now president, has repeatedly downplayed Kremlin efforts to interfere in U.S. democracy. President Putin has, however, denied that Russian meddled.

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They said they believed that there are few signs talks among senior officials could be resumed soon. Juncker said both sides agreed to "hold off on other tariffs" while talks proceed.

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

"I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today", Trump said after talks with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on July 16.

"The bottom line for election security is to make sure that we have paper ballots and that we have audits after the election to pick up on whether there were any risks" to election results, Wyden told reporters.

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

Mr Coats was asked if he was accusing rogue Russian individuals or the Kremlin itself of intervening in U.S. elections.

Wray said his agency is working with social media companies as part of their effort.

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

Then later that week, Coats said he wished Trump had made a "different statement" standing next to Putin.

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