Silence on Russian election meddling frustrates lawmakers

Robert Mueller and the nation’s top intelligence official say Russia is trying to interfere in the midterm elections — but Republican and Democratic lawmakers say the Trump administration is keeping them in the dark about whether the U.S. is ready.

A half-dozen senior House and Senate lawmakers who spoke to POLITICO say they’re hearing only an alarming silence from the administration about what Moscow’s trolls and hackers are up to, less than five months before an election that could undo the Republican lock on Congress and derail President Donald Trump’s agenda.

They’re also getting conflicting messages: Mueller and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats have both asserted that Russian efforts to undermine the American political system are underway, without offering any public evidence or specifics. Meanwhile, officials from the Department of Homeland Security say they haven’t detected any specific Russian attacks on U.S. voting machines or databases this year.

“We’re getting so many mixed signals, depending on what the agency is,” said Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who is planning to convene a summit next month with intelligence officials. “It compels us to bring everybody together in the same room and try to figure out whether or not there’s some stovepipe issues.”

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, expressed even more frustration.

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