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Election infrastructure not compromised in midterms, intelligence community finds

Russia, China and Iran all sought to influence American voters ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, but U.S. voting systems were not compromised and no votes were changed, according to an assessment issued Friday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The report was delivered to the White House and other government agencies, including the departments of Treasury, Defense and Homeland Security. It was the result of an executive order signed by President Trump in September that mandated an assessment of any foreign interference 45 days after the election.

"At this time, the Intelligence Community does not have intelligence reporting that indicates any compromise of our nation's election infrastructure that would have prevented voting, changed vote counts, or disrupted the ability to tally votes," Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said in a statement.  

"The activity we did see was consistent with what we shared in the weeks leading up to the election. Russia, and other foreign countries, including China and Iran, conducted influence activities and messaging campaigns targeted at the United States to promote their strategic interests," Coats said.

National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis said the administration was reviewing the assessment and that the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security will, in another 45 days, issue a separate report evaluating the extent to which any foreign interference targeting election infrastructure "materially affected the security or integrity of that infrastructure."  

Major social media companies including Facebook, Google and Twitter have each removed Russian and Iranian state-sponsored accounts and content from their platforms in the past year. In September, Mr. Trump publicly accused China of interfering in the midterm elections "against" his administration, though national security officials have specified that China's activities amount to a "holistic" approach intended to influence the American public in its favor.

The intelligence community did not assess whether any of the foreign influence campaigns or messaging had any impact on the outcome of the 2018 election, Coats said.

Vice Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Mark Warner, (D-VA), said Coats' statement served as a reminder that Russia "did not go away after the 2016 election."

"We're going to see more and more adversaries trying to take advantage of the openness of our society to sow division and attempt to manipulate Americans," he said in a statement.  

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