CIA Analysis Says Vladimir Putin Is Personally Directing Russian Meddling In 2020 Election To Help Trump
The CIA believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is continuing to approve and direct interference measures aimed at promoting President Donald Trump‘s candidacy, the New York Times reported this week.
The CIA has moderate confidence in its analysis, but affirmed sanctions imposed this month on Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russian Ukrainian lawmaker who has spread information critical of Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
William Evanina, the intelligence official in charge of election interference briefings, said in August that Russia was trying to influence the election by denigrating Biden, citing information released by Derkach as evidence.
The Treasury Department on Sept. 10 said Derkach is “an active Russian agent” with ties to Moscow’s intelligence agencies. He had released doctored tapes of Biden that U.S. officials claim were attempts to mislead the public.
Trump ally and lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who was interwoven in the Ukraine affair and subsequent impeachment inquiry, previously took information from Derkach. However, the latest CIA analysis did not mention Giuliani by name, the Times reported.
The new analysis was published ahead of the sanctions in the CIA Worldwide Intelligence Review, a classified document sent to U.S. lawmakers and the Trump administration.
Though it was proven in the Mueller report that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, Trump has continually pushed back against charges that Russia was backing his candidacy and denied the validity of various intelligence reports and officials.
After FBI director Christopher Wray testified last week that Russia was working to “denigrate Vice President Biden,” Trump publicly criticized him for not underscoring China’s election interference efforts.
Though China has been identified as wanting Trump out of office, they have not resorted to meddling in US politics — or at least not on the scale that Russia has — both US intelligence and Chinese officials have said.
Even Republicans within the intelligence community have been reluctant to acknowledge Russian interference efforts to benefit Trump, though unlike the last election cycle, Trump’s campaign has not been accused of collusion.
John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence and Trump supporter, has said Russia is not working to favor one candidate over another, but is only attempting to sow discord.