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    U.S. President Donald Trump, center right, and Russia's President Vladimir Putin, center left, talk during the family photo session at the APEC Summit in Danang, Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017

    Trump Personally Approved US Military’s Cyberattack Against Russia - Report

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    Russia has consistently denied all allegations that it used a mix of social media influence and cyberattacks in 2016 to sway the US presidential elections in favour of Donald Trump.

    During the 2018 US midterm election, President Donald Trump personally approved a military cyber operation that blocked internet access for the St.Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), NBC News cited multiple sources as saying on Wednesday.

    “The action by US Cyber Command against the IRA [, seen by Washington as a so-called Russian troll farm  and charged by special counsel Robert Mueller with interfering in the 2016 election] marks the most aggressive known move to date by the Trump administration to combat [alleged] Russian election interference," the sources pointed out.

    READ MORE: Trump Claims of China Campaign to Sway US Elections Refuted by Friend and Foe

    The remarks come after the Washington Post reported on Tuesday that US cyber operators disrupted internet access for the IRA on the day of the 2018 midterm elections in a bid “to hamper their propaganda operations”.

    “They basically took the IRA offline. They shut ‘em down," a source told the newspaper, adding that the IRA remained offline for a few days. The White House declined to comment on the report.

    In late January, US intelligence director Dan Coats claimed that Russia will seek to meddle in the US presidential election again — this time with China.  According to him, Russia has "learned from its operation in 2016," and will use a wider array of methods in the upcoming 2020 US elections.

    READ MORE: The Top 10 Scandals of the 2018 US Midterm Elections

    Moscow insists that the allegations were made up to excuse the election loss of a US presidential candidate as well as deflect public attention from actual instances of election fraud and corruption.

    Washington blames Russia for using a mix of social media influence and cyberattacks in 2016 to sway the presidential elections in favour of Donald Trump at the time — something that both the Kremlin and Trump himself have repeatedly denied.

    The Russian president’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, for his part, described the accusations as “absolutely unsubstantiated”, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stressing that there is no proof to support the US’ claims.

    Related:

    Russia is Not the Only Country Interested in Influencing US Elections - Coats
    BuzzFeed: By Funding Own 2016 Elections, Russia Swayed US Presidential Contest
    US May Impose Anti-Russia Sanctions More Often Prior to Russian Elections
    Congress Fails to Address Russia’s Alleged Interference in US Elections - Pelosi
    Tags:
    cyber operation, interference, propaganda, military, internet, Donald Trump, United States, Russia
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