White House: 'Threat' from Russia still exists
White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that Moscow continues to pose a threat to the US electoral system, Sputnik reported.
"We believe the threat still exists, which is why we are taking steps to prevent it," the White House spokeswoman said, AFP reported.
Earlier Wednesday, US President Donald Trump appeared to dismiss the threat at a cabinet meeting, saying "no" when asked by reporters whether Russia was still targeting the United States.
However, Sanders told reporters at a news briefing hours later that the US president's "no" was no in answer to a reporter's question: "Is Russia still targeting the US?" The White House spokesperson emphasized Trump meant he did not want to answer questions.
"The president … was saying 'No' to answering questions," Sanders said at a news briefing. "The president and his administration are working very hard to make sure that Russia is unable to meddle in our elections, as they have done it in the past."
Moreover, Sanders said Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had made it clear that they discussed election meddling.
"The president has made clear to Valdimir Putin that he should stay out of US elections," Sanders was quoted as saying by Reuters.
US intelligence officials have reportedly sounded the alarm that election interference efforts by Russia are continuing and now target the upcoming US Congressional elections in November.
In turn, Russia has repeatedly denied allegations of interference in the 2016 US election and has called the accusations "absurd."