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CIA director expects Russia will try to target US mid-term elections

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CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Russia will target U.S. mid-term elections later this year as part of the Kremlin’s attempt to influence domestic politics across the West, and warned the world had to do more to push back against Chinese meddling.

Russia has been accused of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the allegations, which Moscow denies, and whether there was any collusion involving President Donald Trump’s associates.

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In an interview with the BBC aired on Tuesday, U.S. intelligence chief Pompeo said Russia had a long history of information campaigns and said its threat would not go away.

Asked if Russia would try to influence the mid-term elections, he said: “Of course. I have every expectation that they will continue to try and do that.

“But I am confident that America will be able to have a free and fair election. That we’ll push back in a way that is sufficiently robust that the impact they have on our election won’t be great.”

He also said the Chinese posed a threat of equal concern, and were “very active” with a world class cyber capability.

“We can watch very focused efforts to steal American information, to infiltrate the United States with spies, with people who are going to work on behalf of the Chinese government against America,” he said.

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“We see it in our schools, in our hospitals and medical systems, we see it throughout corporate America. These efforts we have to all be more focused on. We have to do better at pushing back against Chinese efforts to covertly influence the world.”

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The Kremlin, which under Vladimir Putin has clawed back some of the global influence lost when the Soviet Union collapsed, has denied meddling in elections in the West. It says anti-Russian hysteria is sweeping through the United States and Europe.

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In the interview, Pompeo also repeated his message that North Korea was close to developing missiles which could be used in a nuclear attack on the United States.

“I think that we collectively, the United States and our intelligence partners around the world, have developed a pretty clear understanding of (North Korean leader) Kim Jong Un’s capability,” he said.

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“We talk about him having the ability to deliver a nuclear weapon to the United States in a matter of a handful of months.”

The CIA chief defended Trump over accusations from a book which suggested the president was unfocused, unprepared and unfit for his office.

“It’s absurd, the claim that the president isn’t engaged and doesn’t have a grasp on these important issues is dangerous and false,” Pompeo said.

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Asked if Trump’s use of Twitter posed any national security issues, he said: “Hasn’t caused us any trouble.”

He added: “We deliver nearly every day, personally, to the president the most exquisite truth that we know from the CIA. Whatever the facts may be we deliver them unvarnished as accurately and as forcefully as we can.”

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Michael Holden and Janet Lawrence)


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Trump whines about losing the Time ‘Man of the Year’ award he lost to a teenage girl

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President Donald Trump goaded his audience into booing a teenager during a campaign rally in Colorado Springs on Thursday.

Trump said, "I got beaten up by Greta" -- in reference to Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg, who recently celebrated her 17th birthday.

The leader of the free world went on to complain about Thunberg being declared TIME magazine's "Person of the Year" award in 2019.

He said that many women wish it was still "Man of the Year" and suggested separate categories by gender, which would prevent him from competing against European teenage girls.

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Trump jokes that he’ll stay in office for 26 more years — and all his media critics are ‘going to miss us’

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At his latest campaign rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado, President Donald Trump launched into one of his typical attacks on media reports that print unflattering information about him, raging about "fake news" and calling it "so disgusting."

He then joked that he will be in office for 26 more years — which would be a flagrant violation of the Constitution's two-term limit for presidents — and that when he does, "they're going to miss us."

Watch below:

"When we leave office in 26 years or so, they're going to miss us" -- Trump jokes about shredding the Constitution and serving more than 2 terms pic.twitter.com/APckvRSXBz

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Trump is terrified that Russian interference is ‘undercutting his legitimacy’: ex-DNI lawyer

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On Thursday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," Robert Litt, the former general counsel to the Director of National Intelligence, cut to the heart of President Donald Trump's fury over the ongoing reports Russia is planning to intervene to rig the presidential election in his favor.

"Why do you think he refuses to accept the intelligence, and now, by his behavior and this coincidence that is not a coincidence, seems to be having the same reaction again?" asked host Erin Burnett.

"Well, I don't want to go into psychoanalyzing the president, but it's pretty clear that he views the possibility that the Russians attempted to influence the election on his behalf is undercutting his legitimacy in some respect," said Litt. "He's working backwards from that conclusion to talk about the facts ... this has been a consistent pattern all along of denial of what the intelligence community is finding."

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