U.S. Intelligence Report Confirms Russia Is Working To Support Trump’s 2020 Re-Election Effort
U.S. Intelligence officials confirmed Friday that Russia is once again interfering in the American election system by working to undermine former Vice President Joe Biden‘s candidacy. The same officials also revealed that China has indicated a preference for Biden winning the election, though they have not taken measures to directly influence American politics, unlike Russia.
The report was included in a statement released by the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, William Evanina.
“Ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters’ preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people’s confidence in our democratic process,” Evanina said in a statement.
China has said that its main line of influence came from public criticism, though the report suggested they’re also using economics and trade to push their agenda.
China is, however, considering launching a targeted campaign to sway the results of the election, Evanina said.
“Although China will continue to weigh the risks and benefits of aggressive action, its public rhetoric over the past few months has grown increasingly critical of the current administration’s Covid-19 response, closure of China’s Houston Consulate and actions on other issues,” he said.
The report also indicated that Iran has a vested interest in the 2020 election and was working “to undermine U.S. democratic institutions, President [Donald] Trump, and to divide the country” ahead of the general election.
However, the threat from Russia is currently the highest.
“The fact that adversaries like China or Iran don’t like an American president’s policies is normal fare,” Jeremy Bash, a former Obama administration official, told the New York Times. “What’s abnormal, disturbing and dangerous is that an adversary like Russia is actively trying to get Trump re-elected.”
The news come as Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are accused by some Democratic lawmakers that they are relying on Russian disinformation in their investigation of Biden and his son’s dealings in Ukraine.
Evanina said that foreign entities were unlikely to influence the election on a large-scale, but that they could meddle in the voting process or later call “into question the validity of the election results.”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-California) said in a joint statement: “Unfortunately, today’s statement still treats three actors of differing intent and capability as equal threats to our democratic elections.”
Both Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee praised the report and asked the information to not be politicized.
“Evanina’s statement highlights some of the serious and ongoing threats to our election from China, Russia, and Iran,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) said. “Everyone – from the voting public, local officials and members of Congress – needs to be aware of these threats.”