USA Today reports:
In an apparent move to embarrass the United States over Donald Trump’s claims of a “rigged” presidential election, Russia sought to send monitors to U.S. polling stations for the Nov. 8 vote, Russian media revealed Thursday.
The bid was sharply rebuffed by the State Department, and one state election official threatened criminal action if Russian monitors showed up, according to state-controlled Izvestia daily and broadcaster RT.
State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner called the Russian effort a “PR stunt.” A spokeswoman for Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, who received a request to allow Russian monitors, called it a “propaganda ploy.”
“We’ve allowed observers from overseas in the past from other countries, never from Russia,” Meg Casper said. She added that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security also “told us not to do this.”
Trump, who is behind in most polls, has complained for weeks about potential election fraud. In Wednesday night’s debate with Democrat Hillary Clinton, the Republican nominee refused to say whether he would abide by the results on Election Day. On Thursday, he said he will “totally accept the results — if I win.”
(AP) — Oklahoma and 2 other states say they’ve denied a request by Russian officials to be present at polling stations during the election.
— Eric Tucker (@etuckerAP) October 21, 2016