Senior Trump administration officials warned on Thursday that Russia is trying to interfere in November’s midterm elections and the 2020 presidential election and vowed to combat Moscow’s aggression. The high-profile alarm sounded at the daily White House briefing was striking for the officials’ unequivocal warnings, a departure from President Trump’s fumbling acknowledgments that Moscow undertook an influence campaign in 2016 to exploit partisan divisions in the American electorate and sow discord. “This is a threat we need to take extremely seriously and to tackle and respond to with fierce determination and focus,” said the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray.
… Russia is trying to spread propaganda on hot-button issues using social media, Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, has said, highlighting what he called persistent and pervasive efforts. Moscow’s strategy, he said, is to exacerbate sociopolitical divisions.
Mr. Coats again singled out Russia on Thursday, saying its disinformation campaign is ongoing. “We continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States,” Mr. Coats said at the White House. Mr. Wray also cited attempts to manipulate news stories, spread disinformation and escalate divisive issues.
Intelligence and law enforcement officials are also looking out for voter suppression efforts, illegal campaign financing, hacks targeting elected officials and voting infrastructure, he said.