"We continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russian Federation to try to weaken and divide the United States", Coats and other USA intelligence officials told reporters at the White House briefing.
Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee who has criticized Trump for not taking a stronger leadership role on election security, said he was heartened by the White House news conference.
Coats said that the "president himself" had told his agency heads to make securing the election process a "top priority".
America's top national security officials held a rare joint news briefing Thursday to highlight efforts to combat Russian election meddling - with the Department of Homeland Security chief dramatically asserting that "our democracy itself is in the cross hairs".
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 United States opinion or carrying out what Wray described as "information warfare".
Stewart, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said he's often asked what he sees as the biggest threats to the U.S. Quoting a now retired military commander, he said Russian Federation is the only existential threat, North Korea is the most risky and China is the most complicated.
"The president has said other people also may have been involved in the efforts to interfere with the 2016 election", Karl said.
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In an effort to thwart interference in US elections, Democratic Senator Ron Wyden said he hoped to win support for his bill that would require the use of paper ballots for voting.
"In some cases they will work together and in some cases they won't", Stewart said during a forum on national security hosted by the Sutherland Institute at the Utah Army National Guard North Salt Lake Readiness Center.
"We also know the Russians tried to hack into and steal information from candidates and government officials alike", Mr Coats said.
"Russian Collusion with the Trump Campaign, one of the most successful in history, is a TOTAL HOAX", Trump tweeted Wednesday in the context of other tweets about Manafort. "Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of our democracy, and it has become clear that they are the target of our adversaries, who seek.to sow discord and undermine our way of life".
Then later that week, Coats said he wished Trump had made a "different statement" standing next to Putin.