Nielsen downplays 2018 Russia election threat

Trump has furiously denied his campaign colluded in the alleged interference

One day after 12 Russian intelligence officers were charged with allegedly hacking emails during the 2016 election, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said there was no indication that the coming midterms were being attacked by Russia in the same way. In the past, Trump has reiterated Putin's denials, but this week he said he would bring up the issue when they meet Monday in Finland.

The indictment represents special counsel Robert Mueller's first charges against Russian government officials for interfering in American politics, an effort USA intelligence agencies say was aimed at helping the Trump campaign and harming his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Friday's indictment was secured by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his probe into Russian involvement in the election.

Russian Federation has denied interfering in the US election.

Sam Nunberg, a political consultant who worked with Stone, also told CNN that the indictment likely referred to his former boss.

"We don't expect Mueller would agree", said one person briefed on the discussions.

Trump said at a news conference Friday near London with British Prime Minister Theresa May that he wasn't going into the meeting with Putin with "high expectations".

"Right now, this is definitely not the case", he said.

Several prominent Democratic lawmakers called on Trump to cancel the summit.

Deputy White House press secretary Lindsay Walters said there is no evidence tying the Trump campaign to hacking attempts. But he simultaneously denounced the Mueller investigation as a "rigged witch hunt", and said he has been "tougher on Russian Federation than anybody".

Trump has never condemned Russian Federation over meddling in the 2016 election despite the findings of all top USA intelligence agencies, and the Kremlin has insisted it didn't meddle in the US election.

"As I testified before the house intelligence committee under oath my 24 word exchange with someone on Twitter claiming to be Guccifer 2.0 is benign based on its content context and timing", Stone said in a statement. The candidate and the person's party affiliation were not identified.

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Mueller's team claimed the Russians posed as Guccifer and "communicated with USA persons about the release of stolen documents", though Stone is not named in the 29-page indictment. Stone responded that the information was "pretty standard".

Stone denied passing any stolen emails to WikiLeaks.

Asked whether he will confront Putin about the allegations, Trump - who has regularly downplayed the allegations against Russian Federation - said, "All I can do is say, 'Did you?" No Americans are involved.

Manafort resigned from his position in August 2016, weeks after WikiLeaks released emails that been hacked from the Democratic National Committee.

Around the same time, the indictment says, they targeted 76 email addresses at the Clinton campaign's domain.

Two days after that message another followed that stated: "please tell me if I can help u anyhow...it would be a great pleasure to me". Now, the indictment has confirmed the earlier reports of the solo hacker being Russian intelligence agent.

By June 2016, the defendants began planning the release of tens of thousands of stolen emails and documents, the indictment alleges.

Court records show that a grand jury Mueller has been using returned an indictment Friday morning.

"We're acutely aware of the optics of working with the National Guard", Wyman, a Republican, said in an interview.

"The indictments Rod Rosenstein announced are good news for all Americans". The Russians are nailed. Time for Mueller to end this pursuit of the President and say President Trump is completely innocent.

The special counsel has also obtained guilty pleas from Trump campaign aides such as Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos and Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chair, in now in jail awaiting trial.

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