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CIA director says Russia has meddled in U.S. elections 'for decades

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is cracking down on media leaks in the State Department. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Sunday that Russia and other outside influences are in fact trying to influence U.S. elections and have done so  "for decades." The next time will likely be in November, when Republicans try to keep control of Congress, Pompeo said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

U.S. intelligence leaders have said Russia interfered in the 2016 election by hacking and releasing embarrassing emails about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. They also believe Russia influenced the 2016 presidential election by spreading propaganda through social media, according to Reuters.

How long has this been going on?

Moscow's meddling is apparently nothing new. When asked if Moscow tries to undermine U.S. elections, Pompeo responded: "Yes sir, have been for decades."

He told CBS the longstanding practice is a way to undermine our democracy.

"Yes, I continue to be concerned, not only about the Russians, but about others' efforts as well," Pompeo said. "We have many foes who want to undermine Western democracy."

Pompeo did not say who else is working against the U.S.

Trump seems undecided in whether Russia is running interference. Sometimes he agrees with U.S. intelligence agencies and other times he agrees that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime is not meddling, according to Reuters.

Moscow denies doing anything to give Trump an edge in the 2016 presidential election. Meanwhile, special counsel Robert Mueller continues his investigation into whether any crimes were committed. Trump has repeatedly denied working with Russia.

What role does CIA play in U.S. elections?

According to Pompeo, the CIA is tasked with making sure U.S. elections are “secure and democratic.”

"We are working diligently to do that. So we're going to work against the Russians or any others who threaten that very outcome," he told CBS.

Trump has said he wants to improve relations with Putin, but Russia has stonewalled U.S. policy in Syria and Ukraine, and is not helpful in Washington’s standoff with North Korea, Reuters reported.

On Saturday, Trump announced he will campaign on behalf of Republicans running in the mid-term elections. The entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate is up for election. Both have Republican majorities.

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