Russia Denies Backing Trump Re-Election, Critics Express Alarm

The Kremlin on Friday denied Russia was interfering in the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign to boost President Donald Trump’s re-election chances following reports that American intelligence officials warned Congress about the election threat last week.

U.S. intelligence officials told members of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee in a classified briefing last week that Russia was again interfering in American politics ahead of November’s election, a person familiar with the discussion told Reuters.

Trump has since ousted the acting intelligence chief, replacing him this week with a political loyalist in an abrupt move as Democrats and former U.S. officials raised the alarm over national security concerns.

On Twitter, the Republican president accused Democrats in Congress of launching a misinformation campaign “saying that Russia prefers me to any of the Do Nothing Democrat candidates.” Trump called it a “hoax” in his Friday tweet.

U.S. officials have long warned that Russia and other countries would seek to interfere in the Nov. 3 presidential election, following Russia’s meddling in the 2016 campaign that ended with Trump’s surprise victory over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that the Kremlin used disinformation operations, cyber attacks and other methods in its 2016 operation in an effort to boost Trump, an allegation that Russia denies. Trump, sensitive to doubts over the legitimacy of his win, has also questioned that finding and repeatedly criticized American intelligence agencies.

On Friday, the Kremlin said the latest allegations were false.

“These are more paranoid announcements which, to our regret, will multiply as we get closer to the (U.S.) election,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “They have nothing to do with the truth.”

Russia’s alleged interference sparked a two-year-long U.S. investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Mueller found no conclusive evidence of coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. He also pointed at 10 instances in which Trump may have attempted to obstruct his investigation, as Democrats alleged, but left any finding of obstruction to Congress.

Trump is seeking a second term in office.

Last July, he called on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate one of his potential Democratic rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden, sparking his impeachment in the Democratic-controlled House.

Trump, who was later acquitted by the Republican-led U.S. Senate, has also publicly called on China to probe Biden.

Last week’s classified congressional briefing sparked a sharp response by Trump, who rebuked acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire for allowing his staff to brief the lawmakers, including Democratic House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who led the impeachment inquiry, the New York Times reported, quoting five people familiar with the matter.

Trump then dismissed Maguire, announcing this week that Richard Grenell, a Trump loyalist, would be the acting intelligence chief, even as he continues serving as U.S. ambassador to Germany. His appointment drew sharp rebukes from Democrats and other critics who said Grenell lacked intelligence experience.

Trump tweeted on Friday that four candidates were being considered for the permanent post of intelligence head and that a decision would come in the next few weeks.

‘NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT’

“This is a crisis,” former CIA Director John Brennan told MSNBC in an interview on Friday, citing concerns that Trump was seeking to “squelch” critical intelligence.

Schiff, in a Thursday tweet, said if the reports are true, Trump “is again jeopardizing our efforts to stop foreign meddling. Exactly as we warned he would do.”

“Trump is not only trying to rewrite history of Russia’s intervention in 2016, he is now using the power of the presidency to conceal their 2020 scheme to re-elect him. Dangerous!” former Deputy U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates tweeted on Friday.

Democrats seeking to challenge Trump also raised concerns.

Biden, in a CNN town hall event on Thursday, said he was “not surprised” at the reported Russian meddling and that he had no confidence in Grenell.

“This is a national security threat,” Senator Elizabeth Warren told MSNBC on Thursday and criticized Senate Republicans for not acting to secure an election that is less than nine months away.

Trump’s last full-time director of national intelligence, former Republican Senator Dan Coats, resigned last year after his differences with the president over Russia’s role in the 2016 election became public.

Trump has repeatedly called the U.S. Russia probe and the impeachment inquiry a “witch hunt.”

His fellow Republicans at last week’s briefing questioned the information, according to the person familiar with the discussion, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity.

Republican members of the panel did not respond to a request for comment, but Republican Representative Doug Collins, in a television interview on Friday, echoed Trump’s allegations of politicization at U.S. intelligence agencies.

“Something needs to be done to clean up these agencies,” he told Fox Business Network.

(Reporting by Anastasia Teterevleva and Maria Kiselyova in Moscow; Susan Heavey, Makini Brice and Jonathan Landay in Washington; and Steve Holland in Las Vegas; Editing by Andrew Osborn, Mary Milliken and Jonathan Oatis)

Responses

  1. America’s place in the world order has fallen drastically under Trump, creating oppoertunities for countries like China and Russia, and Screw is working overtime to distract and obfuscate the danger this POTUS presents to the Republic.

    1. Thank you, Michael. WHO knew “Make America Great Again” was elevating Russia and China and destroying America’s credibility of upholding the principles of freedom of speech and religion, a free press, and rule of law. WHO knew “Drain the Swamp” was pardoning public officials convicted criminals and promoting Russian propaganda. Screw is a hopeless case, but I have to hold on to the hope that SOMEONE is out there with a plan to restore SANITY to America.

      1. With thos POTUS the substance doesn’t matter. The message is everything, and that depends on the ignorance, willful self-deception, and complicity.

        1. As evidenced in the Republicans’ response to abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, the “ignorance, willful self-deception and complicity” is the ONLY acceptable response in Trump World. Yes, what he did was wrong, but not impeachable. Impeachable actions do not always mean a President should be removed from office. And my favorite, What he did was wrong, but he learned his lesson.

  2. From a logical standpoint, why would the Russians back Trump? He’s unpredictable.
    They have no reason to fear the Dims, with their “reset” buttons and Mr. Flexible. The Dim socialist Dim puts them halfway to being Commies anyway. Why would they NOT help the Dims, especially since Bernie is on the rise?

    There’s a good reason they call these people “useful idiots”.

  3. I’m curious why there were almost zero foreign policy questions at the debate. Even Klobuchar flubbed the “Who’s the president of Mexico” question despite sitting on the committee allegedly in charge of the southern border.

    Russian, Russian, Russian is NOT an effective foreign policy since the 80s. (thanks Obozo). There are so many more players.

    1. LOL…She did not flub the question at the DEBATE on Wed or at the Townhall on Tuesday—BOTH times she answered it correctly. —Klobuchar AND Steyer both could not answer the question posed during Telemundo interviews the PRIOR WEEK. Klobuchar, Steyer and Buttigieg were all asked the question and of the three, only Buttigieg responded correctly. In 2015, we had a presidential candidate who had no clue what the nuclear triad was. You voted for him anyway. In 2019, we had a POTUS who thought the Revolutionary soldiers successfully defended airport. And you claim to be voting for him again. Make America Sane Again.

    2. “Russian, Russian, Russian is NOT an effective foreign policy since the 80s. (thanks Obozo). There are so many more players.” I Ching

      Yes, INCLUDING Russia. Just because you and King Donald The Loser want to eliminate Russia from the equation does NOT mean that they aren’t significant. They are.

  4. The REAL Russian mole is Bernie.

    I wonder if they have sextapes from his honeymoon in Moscow? Nah. He’d ask for copies for his campaign.

    1. Putin is shorter than both Bloomberg and Rubio, WHEN have you observed Trump calling Putin, “Li’l Vlad”? At least Bernie voted FOR sanctioning Russia for interference and Trump was facing a veto proof vote in both REPUBLICAN controlled Houses of Congress to convince him to sign the bill. Trump’s stooge in Treasury took months to apply the sanctions and then lifted them. The Russians find Trump as the “useful idiot” doing their bidding by weakening the West’s influence in the world—making Russia and China stronger. Sanders is ALSO the “useful idiot” who is promising tangible things his believers think he can deliver.— He has worked for over 30 years and has NOT the votes in Congress to deliver. That will create disruption when he can not deliver. Sanders supporters are not dealing in reality, but I do not see them joining the post-fact world of Trumpers. In the event ANY Democrat is elected, the Trumpers will restart their chants of “The DEFICIT” just as R’s did after GW Bush’s departure. McConnell won’t put an infrastructure bill on the floor NOW–he is going to support one under a D administration?

  5. Brilliant troll by the president. Feed the collusion delusion while reminding everyone that Mueller and impeachment failed.

  6. “Trump has since ousted the acting intelligence chief, replacing him this week with a political loyalist” Article

    But of course he did. This is what fascists DO. Replace someone who is competent with an ass-kisser.

    “Trump called it a “hoax” in his Friday tweet.” Article

    I am confused.

    Given his past record, did you expect a different result?

    Given Cult-45’s record, should we expect them to be concerned over the seriousness of this occurring or any implications from nothing being done about it?

    1. why would you fear the Russians? Their ideology is almost exactly like yours. What if they are realy hoping/working for Bernie to win?

      1. “why would you fear the Russians?” I Ching

        Because I understand what their capabilities are. Over the last ten years or so, they have developed the techniques and software to attack us and we have done little to protect ourselves. The Russians have used Ukraine as a pincusion and attacked their infrastructure shutting down their power grid, transportation, finances, etc. They have attacked us, too, but we told them, “stop it”. Oh, wow.

        “Their ideology is almost exactly like yours.” I Ching

        Wishful thinking on your part. You don’t pay ANY attention to what I think or believe.

        “What if they are realy hoping/working for Bernie to win?” I Ching

        What of it? I am sure Russians are quite capable of hedging their bets. They have been at this “politics thing” many centuries longer than we have even been a country.

        However, your question is just a diversion away from your Dear Leader. You should be suspicious of the motives behind his actions, and you are not. I have to wonder why. Is it because you are so incurious that you just don’t care? Is it because you yourself want a fascist leader who should have no restraints or constraints, no accountability, no checks and balances? Because that is what we are getting – right now – and I for one don’t appreciate that. I blame people like you for that, because you have enabled him. Shame on you!

        1. “What if they are realy hoping/working for Bernie to win?” I Ching

          Oh, and by the way, it is currently King Donald The Loser’s responsibility to ensure the safety of this country AND our elections, so he had better rise up to that task.

      2. “why would you fear the Russians?” Election meddling, as long as it is for your preferred candidate is apparently no big deal.—I would perceive even YOU would be concerned of cyber attacks Rick Perry reported as “literally happening hundreds of thousands times a day” of our power plants, nuclear generators, and water facilities. Since you apparently have forgotten that you posted YESTERDAY that you plan to change your registration to vote for Bernie then after the primary change it back, I guess thinking you would remember Sec of Energy Rick Perry’s warning in 2018 a bigger challenge that you can meet.

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