‘Absolutely Chilling, Startling, Shocking’ Russian Plot to Keep Donald Trump in Power
Russia’s ongoing efforts to keep President Donald Trump in power are “absolutely chilling, startling, and shocking,” Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said Sunday after lawmakers attended a classified briefing on the matter last week.
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“The American people need and deserve to know” the truth, Blumenthal told MSNBC. “It comes from intelligence sources that we are now barred from reeling. But the next step really is for the Trump administration to declassify it to make it available. We’re talking about foreign malign threats to our democracy,” he continued, noting that a state department released on Wednesday detailed “that the past Soviet, or Russian techniques, are looking like child’s play compared to what they’re doing now globally.”
These nefarious activities include “fake online identities, from false front groups sponsored by the Russian state-subsidized media all are ongoing around the world right now, and the Mueller report shows that they have done it here in the United States in the past,” Blumenthal warned.
The Kremlin is “using a range of measures” to “denigrate former Vice President Biden,” National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina said in a statement on Friday. Many of these tactics – namely pro-Trump social media posts and fake news designed to trash Democrats and scar Biden – are scaled-up echoes from the 2016 election.
Russia is not the only player in this increasingly dangerous game, however. “Many foreign actors have a preference for who wins the election, which they express through a range of overt and private statements,” Evanina said.
China, for example, wants Trump to lose because he is “unpredictable.” Specifically, Trump’s disastrous mismanagement of the out-of-control COVID-19 pandemic, the banning of the social media app TikTok, his waffling response to pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, and military flexing in the South China Sea have strained diplomatic relations between the budding superpower and the declining United States.
Iran, on the other hand, seeks to “undermine U.S. democratic institutions, President Trump, and to divide the country in advance of the 2020 elections” employing methods borrowed from the Russians, like fake news and sowing social discord online, Evanina explained.
“Tehran’s motivation to conduct such activities is, in part, driven by a perception that President Trump’s reelection would result in a continuation of U.S. pressure on Iran in an effort to foment regime change,” he said, and he is confident in his findings.
“The intelligence assessments above represent the most current, accurate, and objective election threat information the IC has to offer in an unclassified setting at this time,” the statement read. “Providing objective intelligence analysis is the solemn duty of the men and women of the IC, who work day and night around the world, often at great personal risk, to safeguard our nation.”