Officials are scrutinizing security drills and institutions as America prepares for elections. But not all threats are from outside the US
Leaders of the Democratic Congressional Caucus on Sunday demanded that an intelligence report on foreign interference in the 2020 election be made public, so they said voters could be more informed about such efforts than they were in 2016.
“The American people need to know what the Russians are doing in this case, and the American people believe they need to decide who the next president is, not Vladimir Putin,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who appeared on Fox News Sunday. CNN “State of the Union”, referring to the Russian president.
On Friday, William Evanina – director of the National Counter-Electoral and Security Center, which is part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence – issued a statement saying that “foreign states will continue to use covert and covert measures. “Influence their efforts to change the preferences and perspectives of American voters, shift American policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people ‘s trust in our democratic process.”
Evanina said China, Russia and Iran were the main concerns. He said as Russia worked to “boost” President Donald Trump’s candidacy, China and Iran were working to thwart his re-election.
But Pelosi said Russia’s efforts on behalf of Trump were of a different magnitude than those of China and Iran.
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“They are not equivalent,” she said. “Russia is active, 24/7 interfering in our elections. They did it in 2016, and they are doing it now,” Pelosi said. China, on the other hand, may prefer Biden “but they are not really getting involved in the presidential election.”
Evanina’s statement said “Russia is using a series of measures to avoid” former Vice President Joe Biden, the alleged Democratic nominee. He did not provide details, but said, “Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to increase President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television.”
In contrast, the statement said China sees Trump as “unpredictable” and cited its “public” rhetoric and statements as examples of its opposition to Trump’s re-election.
National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien defended the administration’s treatment of election security in CBS News’ “confrontation with the nation” and insisted “it is not just Russia” that is trying to intervene.
“There is no higher concern than us than holding free and fair elections which are the cornerstone of our democracy,” O’Brien said. “We know there are people abroad, Chinese, Iranians, Russians, others who want to interfere in our democracy. And we will fight against that. And we will take every step necessary to strengthen our infrastructure. “electrify our cyber infrastructure and protect our elections 100%.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Wrote in an opposition statement to the Washington Post on Friday that the DNI statement “only hints at threats” about the election and the details he saw at a classified conference were “cold.”
“I believe the American public needs and deserves to know them. Information must be declassified immediately.”
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, DN.Y. told Sunday on ABC News “This Week” that he agreed that information about election interference should be declassified “without compromising sources”.
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The DNI statement said Russia had focused particularly on Biden’s work in Ukraine during the Obama administration and named “pro-Russian Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach” as a figure who “is spreading allegations of corruption – including through the publication of leaked phone calls. “to undermine former Vice President Biden.”
Trump pleaded in December for alleged military aid to put pressure on Ukraine in announcing corruption investigations into Biden and his son, Hunter. The president was eventually acquitted of impeachment articles by the Senate.
Schumer linked the Russian attempt to plunge Biden into an investigation by the Committee on Patriotic Security and Governmental Affairs led by Senator Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., Into Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine. He said Johnson and Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., were conducting the investigation “based on false Russian intelligence.”
“They should be ashamed of themselves for what they are doing, letting the Russians manipulate them and us, the American people,” Schumer said.
Schumer called for the administration to impose additional sanctions on Russia, but O’Brien said there was “almost nothing” left by Russia to sanction because the Trump administration had already taken so much action against the country.
“There is not much left for us to do with the Russians,” he said. “But still, we continue to send a message to the Russians. And President Trump continues to urge the Russians: ‘ ”
But O’Brien declined to comment when asked if Trump told Putin not to interfere in the U.S. election during their most recent conversation.
“Unlike perhaps some of my predecessors or others who leaked documents, I do not enter into conversations the president has with foreign heads of state,” O’Brien said in a notable reference to former national security adviser John Bolton. . “These are private conversations.”
Trump has questioned the intelligence community’s unanimous assessment that Russia tried to influence the 2016 election in his favor.
In response to the DNI statement, Trump said Friday at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey “I think the last person Russia wants to see in office is Donald Trump because no one has been tougher on Russia than I – never “.
But the president seemed to agree with the intelligence showing that China did not want him re-elected. “If Joe Biden were president, China would own our country,” Trump said.
Contribution: Associated Press
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