FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday threw cold water on President Donald Trump’s bogus allegations of widespread fraud associated with mail-in voting.
In his testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Wray said that he hopes voters would turn to their “local election website as opposed to something that might be on social media, for example.”
Voters receiving accurate information about how to vote, where to vote, and how to properly request and submit mail-in ballots are crucial to ensuring that every vote is counted as close to Election Day as possible.
“I would encourage people to be critical thinkers, and to get their news from a variety of sources and make up their own mind and be a skeptical, discerning electorate,” Wray said, “which is what I think is the best defense against malign foreign influence.”
The director added that while there have been instances of fraudulent in-person voting “from time to time” that executing a plan “to change a federal election outcome by mounting that kind of fraud at scale would be a major challenge for an adversary.”
Watch Wray’s remarks below, courtesy of CBS NEWS:
FBI Director Christopher Wray: "I would encourage people to be critical thinkers, and to get their news from a variety of sources and make up their own mind and be a skeptical, discerning electorate — which is what I think is the best defense against malign foreign influence" pic.twitter.com/EGHKdmqUgi
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 24, 2020
Last Thursday, speaking to the House Homeland Security Committee, Wray confirmed that the Kremlin remains “very active” in its efforts to rig the election in favor of Trump and that its primary objective is to “denigrate” former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president.
“Yes I think the intelligence community’s concensus is that Russia continues to try to influence our elections, primarily through ‘malign foreign influence,’” which differs “from what we saw in 2016 where there was also an effort to target election infrastructure, you know, cybertargeting,” Wray told lawmakers.
“We’ve 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 elections in 2020 through more than what I would call more on 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,” he continued, and I think the intelligence community has assessed this publicly, primarily to denigrate Vice President Biden.”
The Russians “see kind of an anti-Russian establishment” coalescing under a Biden Administration, Wray said. “That’s essentially what we’re seeing.”
The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to inundate the United States Postal Service with tens of millions of mail-in ballots – which Trump, along with Republican officials in key swing states – are exploiting as a backdrop to mount a constitutional coup to steal the election, The Atlantic reported in two blockbuster analyses this month.
Trump and Postmaster General Louis DeJoy have implemented controversial policy changes at the USPS in recent weeks to make the agency, whose battalions of letter carriers have been heavily impacted by the coronavirus, even more difficult.
For their part, two of the largest unions representing USPS employees have offered emphatic endorsements of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his vice presidential running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, the Golden State’s former attorney general.
Fact check: studies have consistently found that voter fraud is a statistically non-existent issue in the United States (31 “instances of impersonation fraud” out of more than a billion cast from 2000 to 2014, according to data from the Brennan Center for Justice).
Thirty-nine days left until Americans head to the polls.
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.