FBI Director Christopher Wray testified in Congress on Thursday that his agency and other U.S. intelligence officials are observing "very active efforts by the Russians to influence our elections" in an effort to "denigrate Vice President Biden."
The intelligence community previously determined that Russia had made such efforts during the 2016 presidential election as part of a campaign to assist Donald Trump. Trump has consistently downplayed and disputed those findings.
On Tuesday, Trump told reporters that he believes "the massive mail-in ballot" is "much more dangerous" than Russian election interference. Millions plan to vote by mail because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed nearly 200,000 Americans on Trump's watch.
From a Sept. 17 hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security:
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Can you tell me if, as of this date, you have information that Russia is trying to influence the election for 2020?
CHRISTOPHER WRAY: Yes, I think the intelligence community's consensus is that Russia continues to try to influence our election, primarily through what we would call malign foreign influence, as opposed to what we saw in 2016 where there was also an effort to target election infrastructure, you know, cybertargeting? We have not seen that second part, yet, this year or this cycle.
But we certainly have seen very active, very active efforts by the Russians to influence our election in 2020 through what I would call more the malign foreign influence side of things: social media, use of proxies, state media, online journals, etc., an effort to both sow divisiveness and discord and, and I think the intelligence community has assessed this publicly, to primarily, to denigrate Vice President Biden and what the Russians see as kind of an anti-Russian establishment, that's essentially what we're seeing in 2020.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.