United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed that he was not worried about Russia’s possible meddling in the upcoming midterm elections later this year and asserted that he would ‘counteract’ any attempt made by Russia to stop them from meddling in the elections.
Asked if he was worried about Russian meddling in the midterm elections, Trump maintained that he would counteract the move “very strongly”.
“We won’t allow that to happen. We will counteract it very strongly. We’re doing a very, very deep study and coming out with very strong suggestions on the 2018 election,” the US President said.
Also, earlier on Tuesday, director of national intelligence Dan Coats told a Senate committee that it was “highly likely” that Russia would be “doing something” in the 2018 midterm elections, the Independent reported.
“We have not seen evidence of a robust effort yet on the part of Russia, but we know their malign activities continue to exist,” Coats said.
The 2018 midterm elections are scheduled to be held in November this year. These elections take place every two years after the US presidential elections happen.
All 435 seats in the US House of Representatives and 34 of the 100 seats in the US Senate will be contested.
39 state and territorial governorships and numerous other state and local elections will also be contested during the elections.
US Special counsel Robert Mueller last month indicted 13 Russian nationals for allegedly interfering in the 2016 United States presidential elections.
According to The New York Times, along with the 13 nationals, three Russian organisations were also accused of illegally using social media platforms to influence the Presidential elections of the United States.
US officials have said that Moscow also tried to hack into the US voting systems, but that they were unable to change any vote. The Department of Homeland Security has also said there is no evidence to suggest that votes had been altered.
Meanwhile, the US State Department is yet to spend any of the USD 120 million it was given to fight foreign election meddling, according to The New York Times. None of the department’s 23 analysts tasked with countering Russia’s efforts speak Russian.
The US intelligence community believes that the Russian government was engaged in electoral interference during the 2016 US presidential elections.
A January 2017 assessment by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) stated that Russian leadership preferred Trump over Hillary Clinton and that the Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered an “influence campaign” to harm Clinton’s electoral chances and “undermine public faith in the US democratic process.