Intel officials sound the alarm on Russian meddling in 2018 midterms

WASHINGTON U.S. intelligence officials said Russian President Vladimir Putin meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, and now, with critical elections coming up in November and control of Congress at stake, officials said Tuesday that Putin is at it again.

Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee alongside the heads of agencies including the FBI, CIA and NSA, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Russia is already working to disrupt this year’s midterm elections.

“We need to inform the American public that this is real,” he said. “That this is going to happen, and the resilience needed for us to stand up and say, ‘We’re not going to allow some Russian to tell us how to vote, how we ought to run our country.’ And I think there needs to be a national cry for that.”

From left to right, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, National Security Agency Director Admiral Michael Rogers and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill Feb. 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Senate Democrats said that national cry needs to begin with President Trump.

“I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election,” Mr. Trump said of Putin in November. “As to whether I believe it or not, I am with our agencies.”

But he has sent mixed messages about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

“Has the president directed you and your agency to take specific action to confront and blunt Russian influence activities that are ongoing?” Sen. Jack Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island, asked FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“We’re taking a lot of specific efforts to blunt…

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