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Russian interference in 2018 elections is ‘highly likely,’ top intelligence official says

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Tuesday that it’s “highly likely” that Russia will try and influence the outcome of America’s 2018 midterm elections.

While speaking at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Coats said that while intelligence agencies had not yet seen a “robust effort” by the Kremlin to meddle, such efforts were likely underway, Reuters reports. Coats additionally said that the Trump administration is “actively engaged” in combating Russian efforts to influence November’s midterm elections.

Russia has consistently denied any involvement in political interference in the 2016 election, even as Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals last month for attempting to disrupt the election “through fraud and deceit,” including targeted social media propaganda. Some lawmakers at Tuesday’s hearing pressed Coats on establishing a clear plan to prevent foreign meddling, reports Yahoo News. National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers additionally told the committee that President Trump had “not granted him authority” to work towards disrupting interference from Moscow, Reuters notes.

“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. “It’s highly likely that they will be doing something. We just don’t know how much and when and where.”