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1ST LEAD US intelligence chief: Russia will try to undermine 2018 elections By Friederike Heine, dpa

Europe
13.02.2018
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Washington (dpa) - Russia views its intervention in the US presidential election as a success and sees this year‘s mid-terms as another opportunity to launch an attack, the country‘s top intelligence official said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Security Daniel Coats said "there should be no doubt" that Russia perceives its efforts to meddle in the 2016 election "as a success."

Moscow "views the 2018 mid-term elections" as its next opportunity to "try to exacerbate social and political fissures" in the US and will use propaganda and social media to do so, he added.

US spy agencies have concluded that Russia tried to sway the 2016 poll in Trump‘s favour through social media propaganda and by hacking Democratic Party emails. Russia denies the allegations.

Democrat Mark Warner, the committee‘s vice chairman, criticized the administration of Donald Trump for failing to prepare the country for a repeat attack, saying the president "continues to deny the threat."

Trump has dismissed the investigation into Russian interference as a witch hunt, especially allegations that members of his own election campaign colluded in the effort.

Angus King, an independent senator from Maine, said the president has an obligation to separate the issues of meddling and alleged collusion, saying the US "cannot confront this threat when the leader continues to deny that it exists."

Both major US political parties are gearing up for mid-term legislative elections in November.

The president‘s conservative Republican Party will be seeking to defend its majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate, while Democrats are hoping for victories based on strong anti-Trump sentiment.

 

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