In a new public warning about interference in the 2020 elections, a top U.S. Intelligence official said on Friday that Russia was using a variety of measures to ‘denigrate’ Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden, while at the same time giving a boost on social media to the re-election bid of President Donald Trump.
In an assessment released by William Evanina, the Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, U.S. spy agencies believe they are seeing a familiar effort from Russia.
“We assess that Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden,” the review states about Moscow, adding there is evidence of help as well for President Trump.
“Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television,” it states.
The same document also said "China prefers" that President Trump does not win re-election, but U.S. Intelligence did not indicate there were any specific measures being taken against the President or for Biden.
"Many foreign actors have a preference for who wins the election, which they express through a range of overt and private statements; covert influence efforts are rarer," Evanina wrote.
The release of the statement came in the wake of reports that Evanina had drawn a sharp rebuke from top Democrats in a closed door briefing about Russian actions.
An earlier public warning by Evanina was disparaged by Democrats as being too weak, as they accused U.S. Intelligence of not giving the American people more information about possible threats to the 2020 elections.
In early 2017, U.S. Intelligence had little doubt that Russian leader Vladimir Putin had interfered in the 2016 election for President.
“Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency,” the review found, using the exact same word - ‘denigrate’ - which was used to describe measures being taken against Biden.
“We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump,” U.S. Intelligence found in 2017.