Russia on Friday called new U.S. election meddling claims “hysteria” that “makes a mockery” of America after Washington accused Moscow of a continued campaign to influence its public opinion.
It was the latest round of tit-for-tat barbs between the two powers over allegations by U.S. intelligence agencies that Moscow interfered in the 2016 U.S. election that brought Donald Trump to office.
“The two-year hysteria over some kind of Russian interference in elections — which never happened — does not only damage bilateral relations but makes a mockery of the whole political system in the U.S.,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told journalists.
In a warning just months before crucial legislative polls, the U.S. government accused Russia on Thursday of carrying out a “pervasive” campaign to influence elections.
Senior Administration officials warn that Russia will try to undermine upcoming U.S. elections. “The president has specifically directed us to make the matter of election meddling . . . a top priority," Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said. https://t.co/xb9E3Be3a3
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 3, 2018
“We continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign from Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States,” said Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence.
A slew of top U.S. officials including Coats, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen vowed to investigate and prosecute those who were trying to sway U.S. opinion or carrying out what Wray described as “information warfare”.
“Our democracy itself is in the crosshairs,” Nielsen said in an unusually stark warning.
Russian authorities have rejected all accusations of interference in foreign elections.