Russia, China out to prove democracy will fail, Rep. Chris Stewart says


FBI Director Wray said the Federal Bureau of Investigation has instituted a new foreign influence task force created to identify and counteract the "full range of malign foreign influence operations", targeting U.S. democratic institutions and values.

"It's important to understand", Wray cautioned, "this is not just an election-cycle threat". "Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy, and it has become clear that they are the target of our adversaries, who sow discord and undermine our way of life".

The U.S. intelligence community remains concerned about election security, and Russian Federation is still trying to interfere in American elections, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said on Thursday.

National security advisor John Bolton speaks at the daily press briefing at the White House on Thursday.

Neither Wray nor Coats would directly address the president's characterization of the probe - but they and the others insisted the threat from Russian Federation and other actors was legit.

During Thursday's White House press briefing, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said his agency is meeting weekly with other agencies ahead of November's midterms.

"We know the Russians have tried to hack info and steal information from candidates and government officials alike".

"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.

We know that through the decades Russian Federation "has used propaganda to sow discord in America".

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"This threat is not going away".

"Our focus here today is simply to tell the American people we acknowledge the threat it is real, it is continuing and we are doing everything we can to have a legitimate election that the American people can have trust in", Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said.

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, USA officials said. He established a task force to "root out" the influence operations trying to suppress voting, manipulating news stories and spread misinformation.

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

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".

Trump, he insisted, pushed the issue during his private sitdown with Putin.

'The time has come for voter ID, ' Trump said Tuesday night at a rally in Tampa, Fla., which earned him a roar of approval and sustained applause from the crowd.

"I can tell you, the Baltics have a legitimate reason to be afraid", he said, adding Putin could take them in 48 hours and the US could initially not do anything about it.