USA officials raise alarm about election interference ahead of midterms

HELSINKI FINLAND- JULY 16 U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive to waiting media during a joint press conference after their summit

"What we see is the 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 undermine our fundamental values", Coats said Thursday.

The illegal activity includes criminal efforts to suppress voting and provide illegal campaign financing, cyber attacks against voting infrastructure along with computer intrusions targeting elected officials and others, US officials said.

The national security adviser, a longtime Russian Federation hawk, also defended the president's much-maligned press conference after his tête-à-tête with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, when Trump did not address Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The president weighed in with his barely-knew-the-guy tweet: "Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders".

"We also know the Russians tried to hack into and steal information from candidates and government officials alike", Mr Coats said.

"What we are seeing are the malign influence operations", Wray said.

Trump also increased USA military spending in part to counter Russian aggression, according to Stewart.

"The president has said other people also may have been involved in the efforts to interfere with the 2016 election", Karl said.

Just one day into the trial of his former campaign chief Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to demand Attorney General Jeff Sessions immediately pull the plug on Robert Mueller's Russian election-tamper probe.

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

"He didn't say anything different than I've said" on the air, which is that "the investigation should be concluded", the president's lawyer said. The president's tweet was merely reiterating that his camp wants the investigation over "sooner rather than later", Sanders said. Putin even seemed to acknowledge as much at the press conference following the closed-door summit in Helsinki, Finland.

This includes measures to heighten the security and resilience of election systems and processes, to confront Russian and other foreign malign influence in the United States, to confront such aggression through global action and to reinforce a strong sanctions regime, he said. "That was the easy part", but he said the tougher part is recognizing efforts in social media to create division. "How do you monitor those?" he said.

Stewart also said that America's adversaries, including Russian Federation and China, will never be able to defeat America directly.

Democrat Shireen Ghorbani - Stewart's challenger in the 2nd Congressional District, who was a Peace Corps volunteer in the former Soviet republic of Moldova - criticized his comments. "Russians are trying to help Democrats in the 2018 elections".

In another tweet, the president suggested that Manafort was being treated poorly - worse than mobster Al Capone. The answer was clear as day, Putin responded, 'Yes, I did.

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