Media: US intelligence believes that Russia will try to intervene in the 2020 presidential election
US intelligence agencies believe that Russia will try to intervene in the 2020 presidential election to help incumbent US President Donald Trump win reelection. This was reported by sources in the American media who were aware of the contents of the secret briefing for members of Congress, writes with the BBC.
A number of American media citing several anonymous sources, it was reported that on February 13, the intelligence community held a private briefing on possible Russian interference in the US presidential election for members of the House’s intelligence committee.
Russia denies helping Trump win the election the previous time, in 2016.
According to the New York Times, Trump found out about the contents of the briefing from Republican members of Congress and was so dissatisfied that he decided not to propose Joseph Maguire, the current director of national intelligence, for approval.
February 20, it became known that Trump has appointed Richard Grenell, the new acting director of national intelligence, the coordinator of all 17 intelligence services. Grenell, the former US ambassador to Germany, has no intelligence experience.
However, Grenell said that he would occupy this post on an interim basis, and the president would present another candidate for approval by the Senate. Some senators have expressed doubts about the prospects for the approval of Grenell.
In 2017, in the last days of the Obama administration, the U.S. intelligence community published a report on various forms of Russian interference in the 2016 elections - from hacking correspondence between Democratic functionaries and trolls trying to influence voters, targeted advertising on social networks and attacks on the counting infrastructure.
The decision on this operation was allegedly made personally by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In May 2017, special prosecutor Robert Muller was appointed, who for almost two years had been developing a version of a conspiracy of Trump's entourage with individuals acting in the interests of the Russian state.
Ultimately Muller did not find evidence of collusion, but he made an unambiguous conclusion about the reality of other forms of Russian intervention and even indicted several Russians, who were called GRU officers in the indictment.
According to a CNN source, the new briefing for lawmakers generally spoke of the same goals of Russian intervention - not only to support Trump, but also to undermine confidence in the electoral process in American society.
However, it’s still “unclear what concrete steps Russia could take to help Trump,” writes the Washington Post.
Russian officials have repeatedly and categorically denied interference in the US election.
Trump commented on the situation
The news that Russia plans to intervene in the next US presidential election to ensure the re-election of Donald Trump is another attempt by the Democrats to mislead voters. Trump wrote about this on his Twitter page, writes RBC.
“Another congressional disinformation campaign from Democrats.” They assure that Russia would prefer me to do nothing to the candidates from the Democratic Party, who for the second week already cannot count the votes cast for them at the Iowa focus, ”Trump wrote.
Even at the stage of the election campaign, Donald Trump made statements more than once that showed the American politician’s usual willingness to compromise with Russia: he spoke favorably of Vladimir Putin, questioned the need for NATO, and even allowed the possibility of recognizing Crimea as Russian territory.
In the summer of 2016, he directly called on Russia (“Russia, if you hear me”) to find emails allegedly missing from the private server of his rival Hillary Clinton.
In the fall of that year, when accusations of Russian interference were already heard everywhere, Trump said that both Russia and any other country are capable of cyber attacks.
Having settled in the White House, Trump continued to speak in the same spirit. He began to call Mueller's investigation a witch hunt. Soon after Muller’s last speech in Congress on July 25, 2019, Trump had a telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, where he mentioned this event and asked to investigate the activities of many of his political opponents.
This conversation led to the beginning of the impeachment procedure, which was announced to the president by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. The Senate, in which the majority are Republicans, ultimately decided not to deprive Trump of his post.
Sources of the American media, however, have repeatedly said that the president is extremely sensitive to any mention of Russian interference, believing that they question the legitimacy of his election victory. Its Republican allies acknowledge the fact of interference for the most part, but insist that it did not affect the voting results.
During the new briefing, “Republicans reacted as one might expect. They freaked out. They began to doubt the veracity of intelligence, ”Reuters quoted its source as saying.
According to a Washington Post source, Devin Nunes, a republican minority leader on the committee, known for his loyalty to the president, and his tendency to believe in a conspiracy theory about the “deep state,” told Trump about the briefing.
The intelligence committee is chaired by Democrat Adam Schiff, who played a prominent role in the impeachment process - he was the lead manager (essentially the prosecutor) at a Senate trial. According to sources, this fact touched Trump even more when he found out about the briefing, about the new Russian intervention.
Then he suspected the acting director of national intelligence in disloyalty and appointed in his place Grenella, who shares his thesis about the "deep state", digging under the president. Back in 2016, Grenell wrote Articles that Russia has always tried to interfere in American elections, and its latest efforts in this direction are not fundamentally different from the previous ones.
The reaction of Russia
The Kremlin called "paranoid" statements by US intelligence that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election campaign and trying to reinforce the chances of Trump's re-election, writes "Voice of America".
“Another paranoid message, which, unfortunately, will be more and more as we approach the election. Of course, they have nothing to do with the truth, ”Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
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