US Counterspy Chief Warns Russia, China, Iran Trying to Meddle in 2020 Election

The top U.S. counterintelligence official on Friday warned that Russia, China and Iran will all try to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, with Russia already trying to undercut Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

In an unusual public statement, William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said the three countries were using online disinformation and other means to try to influence voters, stir up disorder and undermine American voters’ confidence in the democratic process.

President Donald Trump, asked at a news conference in New Jersey how he would respond to interference in the Nov. 3 vote, said: “We’re going to watch all of them, we have to be very careful.”

He added that he believed Russia, China and Iran all wanted him to lose the election.

Foreign adversaries also may try to interfere with U.S. election systems by trying to sabotage the voting process, stealing election data, or calling into question the validity of election results.

“It would be difficult for our adversaries to interfere with or manipulate voting results at scale,” Evanina said.

Trump repeated his refrain that the biggest risk to the integrity of the election was mail-in ballots.

“It’s much easier for them to forge ballots and send them in, it’s much easier for them to cheat with universal mail-in ballots,” he said, referring to foreign countries.

Trump has been attacking the idea of voting by mail ever since a resurgence in coronavirus infections made it less likely that people will want to vote in person in November, saying despite research to the contrary that mail-in voting is vulnerable to fraud.

Multiple reviews by U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia acted to boost Trump’s 2016 campaign and undercut his rival Hillary Clinton’s chances in that election. Trump has long bristled at that finding, which Russia denies.

Evanina warned on Friday that Russia is already going after former Vice President Biden and what it regards as an anti-Russia U.S. “establishment.”

In a statement, the Biden campaign said Trump “publicly and repeatedly invited, emboldened, and even tried to coerce foreign interference in American elections.”

Evanina said Andriy Derkach, a pro-Russia Ukrainian politician, has been “spreading claims about corruption – including through publicized leaked phone calls” to undermine Biden’s campaign and the Democratic Party.

Trump supporters in the U.S. Senate have launched investigations questioning Biden’s son Hunter’s involvement in alleged business activities in Ukraine.

Evanina said “Kremlin-linked actors” also are trying to “boost President Trump’s candidacy via social media and Russian television.”

He said his agency assessed that China would prefer that Trump not win re-election, because Beijing regards him as too unpredictable.

He said China has been expanding efforts to influence U.S. politics ahead of the election to try to shape U.S. policy, exert pressure on U.S. politicians it regards as anti-China, and deflect criticism of China.

Evanina said Iran is likely to use online tactics such as spreading disinformation to discredit U.S. institutions and President Trump and to stir up U.S. voters’ discontent.

The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Mark Warner, thanked Evanina for his warning in a statement and added that all Americans “should endeavor to prevent outside actors from being able to interfere in our elections, influence our politics, and undermine confidence in our democratic institutions.”

Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for Trump’s re-election campaign, insisted that Trump has been “tougher on Russia than any administration in history.”

“We don’t need or want foreign interference, and President Trump will beat Joe Biden fair and square,” Murtaugh added.

Many officials who oversee U.S. election technology and outside security experts now worry less about hacking in the elections than about misinformation and logistics such as a shortage of poll workers and slowdowns at the U.S. postal service.

(Reporting by Mark Hosenball and Jeff Mason; Additional reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Scott Malone, David Gregorio and Sonya Hepinstall)

Responses

  1. As long as it takes.” I Ching

    O.K., I can play that game, too.

    Do you think (HA!) that it will take longer than, say, a month, until the new year, until inauguration day, to figure out the winner? Provided the administration doesn’t interfere and/or cheat, again, of course.

  2. LOL…just a suggestion, when addressing ANYONE “TOO (sic) a certain congenital idiot who’s confused.” check for typos before tapping publish. It will reduce the chances other posters will perceive you are attempting to be satirical. You are no Andy Borowitz, Bill Mayer. or Stephen Colbert.

    Secondly, Check the U.S. Constitution, specifically Section 1 of the 20th Amendment. Trump and Pence’s 4 yr term ENDS on January 20th. at noon.

    Thirdly, WHAT is the difference between an absentee ballot and a mail-in ballot? Are you claiming that if Trump & Melania “can’t haul [their] ass to the ballot, then maybe [they] don’t want to vote.”?? My 90 yr old mother and 94yr old aunt ambulate with assistance of a walker. Do you see them standing in line for hours at the polls? AND NO, neither no longer drives, so they do NOT buy gas or shop.

    Lastly, In 2016 Trump repeatedly ranted over the electoral college being unfair to Republicans. Without the electoral college, Trump would NOT be POTUS. Four years late, Trump is all in on the electoral college and has suddenly decided the Republican’s mail-in voting plan is fraudulent. If he wins using mail-in ballots, WHO actually believes we will hear continued wacky assertions about “mail-in” voting? It will be buried with his many other wacky claims.

  3. I wonder why Nevada is considering doing away with the requirement that a witness sign a absentee mail-in ballot?
    A requirement that has been on the books for several years and just now the Democrats have a problem with it?
    Oh…I forgot that would put two people in the same room next to each other, can’t have that virus being transferred.

  4. Got news for him: They have done it for years.
    Actually countries everywhere have interfered with another country’s government for centuries

  5. The only way to stop it is to shut down all social media so Chinese/Russian trolls can’t post misleading information on the web. Think that’ll work…?!?!?

  6. “I guess the anti-Trumpers don’t have a clue that an unresolved election will allow Trump MORE time in office.” I Ching

    I am confused, I Ching.

    How long do you estimate that it will take our collective of corrupt governments to get a final count?

  7. Will to exercise your right to vote.

    If you can’t haul your ass to the ballots then maybe you don’t want to vote. Ooh, but the Wuflu. Really? Do you buy gas or shop at a market?

    But I don’t have ID. That’s a signifier that maybe you shouldn’t be voting. How do you bank, drive, or otherwise function in life?

  8. The reliability of mail-in ballots….not.

    Has no one noticed the # of Blue state officials facing charges of falsifying tampering with ballots? Look it up.

    More importantly it DISENFRANCHISES many, not allowing their votes to count. Consider that 20%+ of the NY primary ballots were rejected due to bad signatures, late arrival, and many, many voters NOT receiving their ballots.

    Test runs of balloting have also shown a lot of ballots lost or misplaced at the post office. I won’t mention those mysteriously “lost” in the trunks of Dim operatives. How could that happen?

    And that’s just NY. Now expand the chaos nationwide. It will make the Bush/Gore debacle look like a dress-rehearsal.

  9. Mail-ins.
    Consider that it took over two months to resolve a NY primary. Imagine how much longer a national election will take.

    I guess the anti-Trumpers don’t have a clue that an unresolved election will allow Trump MORE time in office. So yeah, let’s go with mail-in ballots.

  10. “It would be difficult for our adversaries to interfere with or manipulate voting results at scale.” Evanina

    Especially with mail-in forms.

Comments are closed.