Donald Trump attempted to sideline a report from the US intelligence community that said Russia was actively working to “denigrate” Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
In a statement on Friday, William Evanina, the Director of National Intelligence, said that “foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway US voters’ preferences and perspectives.”
Russia is “using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment,” Evanina said.
“This is consistent with Moscow’s public criticism of him when he was Vice President for his role in the Obama Administration’s policies on Ukraine and its support for the anti-Putin opposition inside Russia.”
The report is one of the most detailed given by US authorities on the threat of meddling in the 2020 election to date.
Asked on Friday by a reporter whether he thought the intelligence was true, and what he would do about it, Trump said: “It could be, it could be very much.”
President Trump: “If Joe Biden was President, China would own our country.” pic.twitter.com/OwVqOXW9gb
— The Hill (@thehill) August 8, 2020
But Trump then poured cold water on the claim, saying: “I think that the last person Russia wants to see in office is Donald Trump, because nobody’s been tougher on Russia than I have, ever.”
When a reporter pointed out that this wasn’t the view of the intelligence community, Trump said: “I don’t care what anybody says.”
In his report, Evanina also said that evidence suggests that China and Iran don’t want Trump to win reelection. He did not say whether they were actively trying to influence the election like Russia.
House Democrats fear a repeat of 2016 when Russia actively meddled in the election to get Trump elected.
“We do know that Russia is interfering again in our elections. The intelligence community has told us that they are continuing the behavior of what they did in past elections, and there may be other foreign governments that are trying to intervene,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on July 31.
When asked by a reporter what he planned to do about the intelligence, Trump said: “We’re gonna look at it very closely.”
“We’re gonna watch all of them,” he said.
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