“We appreciate that China prefers that President Trump – whom Beijing sees as unpredictable – not win re-election,” said William R. Evanina, director of the National Center for Counterintelligence and Security, in a statement that updated the election threat landscape. that goes to the November Elections
“China has expanded its influence efforts before November 2020 to shape the political environment in the United States, putting pressure on political figures it views as contrary to China’s interests, and deviance and criticism against China.”
“We believe that Russia is using a number of measures to denigrate Vice President Biden and what he sees as an anti-Russian”; institution. ” “The Obama administration’s policies on Ukraine and its support for the anti-Putin opposition within Russia,” Evanina added.
Evanina also stated that Iran is seeking to “undermine the democratic institutions of the United States, President Trump and divide the country.”
The statement from Evanina is clearer that the intelligence community has been suggesting that Russia prefers one candidate over the other in the 2020 race.
The intelligence community in 2017 estimated that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an “influence campaign” aimed at hurting Hillary Clinton and designed to help Trump win.
Biden’s campaign advisers have already discussed Evanina’s assessment, according to a person familiar with the discussions. The team has focused specifically on the semantics of the statement, as it relates to the former vice president, noting that Russia is undoubtedly seeking to “denigrate” Biden while China is simply “preferring” a Trump defeat.
Evanina came under fire from Democratic leaders last month when she last issued a warning about Russia, China and Iran’s efforts to interfere in the November election. Lawmakers asserted that his statement did not go “nearly as far” as providing the American public with information about foreign efforts to influence the election.
In a joint statement, Sens. Marco Rubio, the acting chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Mark Warner, the senior Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Friday thanked Evanina for providing additional information about the threats and encouraged the intelligence community to “keep coming back.” make this information available “.
The two senators also called on “political leaders on all sides to refrain from arming intelligence issues for political gain, as this only further the divisive intentions of our opponents.”
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
CNN’s Manu Raju and Veronica Stracqualursi contributed to this report.