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White House says ‘threat’ from Russia still exists

The White House said Wednesday that Russia continues to pose a danger to the US electoral system, just hours after President Donald Trump appeared to dismiss the threat.

"We believe the threat still exists, which is why we are taking steps to prevent it," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said. Earlier Wednesday at a cabinet meeting, Trump replied "no" when asked by reporters whether Russia was still targeting the United States. That assertion would contradict the assessment of US intelligence chief Dan Coats, who said on Monday that Russia was involved in "ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy." But Sanders said Trump was only saying "no" to further questions from reporters and not replying to the question on Russia. Trump has been facing bipartisan criticism over his apparent acceptance at the Helsinki summit of Russian leader Vladimir Putin's denial of election meddling. Democrats and some members of Trump's own Republican party have criticized him for failing to hold Putin accountable and for accepting his denial at face value. DM

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