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Homeland Security

Iran Press TV

Trump extends emergency declaration on foreign election interference

Iran Press TV

Wed Sep 11, 2019 05:37AM

President Donald Trump has extended a national emergency declaration over alleged foreign interference in US elections.

Trump issued a memo on Tuesday, claiming efforts by foreign entities to affect or undercut public confidence in US elections still "pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States."

He first issued the emergency declaration last September through an executive order, and also demanded that an executive branch assessment of foreign threats to US elections be conducted.

In addition, he imposed sanctions on individuals who allegedly engaged in such efforts.

The new memo issued to Congress states there has been "no evidence" showing a foreign government is trying to change the outcome of any US elections or vote tabulations, but it says that foreign powers "have historically sought to exploit America's free and open political system."

It also says that the proliferation of new technology has increased the possibility of foreign interference.

"The ability of persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States to interfere in or undermine public confidence in United States elections, including through the unauthorized accessing of election and campaign infrastructure or the covert distribution of propaganda and disinformation, continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States."

US intelligence agencies have accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 US presidential election with a campaign of email hacking and online propaganda aimed at sowing discord in the United States, hurting Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and helping Trump.

US special counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, had been examining since May 2017 whether Trump's election campaign colluded with Moscow to try to influence the election and whether he later unlawfully tried to obstruct his investigation.

Both Trump and Russia have repeatedly denied the accusations. Trump has sought to discredit the investigation, calling it a "witch hunt" and accusing Mueller of conflicts of interest.

On March 22, Mueller submitted his confidential report to US Attorney General William Barr, triggering calls from lawmakers in Congress for the document's quick release.

A redacted version of Mueller's report published in April did not establish a criminal conspiracy between Trump aids and Moscow to sway the outcome of the election.

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