Ambiguous comments from homeland chief on election meddling

Sunday, 22 Jul, 2018

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says she has not seen evidence that the Russians meddled in the 2016 election to help elect Trump, countering the US intelligence agencies assessment on the issue.

Nielsen said she had not seen any evidence that Russian hackers' intentions were "to favor a particular political party".

On Tuesday, during a meeting at the White House, Trump said he misspoke a day earlier when he didn't back up the intelligence community's conclusions that Russian Federation meddled in the election.

Nielsen's comments follow FBI Director Chris Wray's assertion Tuesday night that "Russia attempted to interfere with the last election and that it continues to engage in malign influence operations to this day".

"We will see how things develop further", Putin said, evoking unnamed "forces" in the USA trying to prevent any improvement in relations and "putting narrow party interests above the national interest".

Upon returning from Helsinki, Trump said he had misspoken at a joint news conference with Putin when he questioned why Russian Federation would have interfered in the 2016 election.

The announcement that Putin was in talks to visit Washington again comes amid special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 United States elections.

Noting that a group of U.S. Congressmen is planning to visit Russia, he said it is unlikely a trip by Russian lawmakers to the United States would occur before the mid-term elections in November.

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That's because they would have clashed, one way or another, with the uniforms of the five opponents Croatia has played since. Croatia needed spot kicks to advance against Denmark in the last 16 and against Russian Federation in the quarter-finals.

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U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, said Friday that President Donald Trump's homeland security secretary should resign.

Meanwhile, Antonov also pushed for the release of a gun rights activist accused of being a covert agent in the USA, calling her arrest a "farce".

"If she can't state unequivocally that neo-Nazis and white supremacists are a threat to the American people, we must question her judgment".

The president's comments prompted top intelligence officials in his administration, as well as fellow Republican leaders in Congress, to reaffirm the findings that Russian Federation had tried to influence American voters. Trump, in attempting to calm the uproar, appeared to undermine USA intelligence agencies further.

Almost a year has passed since white nationalists convened a violent protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, where one counter-protester was killed.

While Trump and Putin had met privately on three occasions in 2017, Trump opened the door to a potential White House meeting with him earlier this year.

Russia's Defense Ministry said it had sent a proposal to Washington to jointly organize the return of the refugees under a deal agreed to by the president and the Russian strongman.

"Say that again", Coats responded, when informed of the invitation during an appearance at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. "It wasn't always conciliatory in that meeting", Trump said, without elaborating.