America’s top national security officials held a rare joint news briefing Thursday to highlight efforts to combat Russian election meddling — with the Department of Homeland Security chief dramatically asserting that “our democracy itself is in the cross hairs.”
“Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy, and it has become clear that they are the target of our adversaries who seek to sow discord and undermine our way of life,” DHS Director Kirstjen Nielsen said from the White House.
“I fully share the intelligence community’s assessments and past efforts and those today to interfere with our election and of the current threat. Our adversaries have shown they have the willingness and capability to interfere in our elections.”
Other heavy hitters on hand decrying Russian interference included Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, FBI chief Christopher Wray, national security adviser John Bolton and National Security Agency director Gen. Paul Nakasone.
Their appearance in the White House briefing room along with spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders came a day after President Trump yet again called the special counsel’s probe into Russian election meddling a hoax and demanded that Attorney General Jeff Sessions shut it down.
Neither Wray nor Coats would directly address the president’s characterization of the probe — but they and the others insisted the threat from Russia and…