US intelligence warned new turn in Russian election interference efforts

US intelligence warned new turn in Russian election interference efforts
Trump and Putin shake hands during a joint press conference after their July 2018 summit in Helsinki, Finland. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times, Washington: US intelligence told lawmakers that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election campaign to boost President Donald Trump’s re-election bid. The intelligence briefing took place last week, a person familiar with the briefing said on Thursday.

The assessment was presented by officials of the Office of National Intelligence and Trump’s Republican allies on the Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee questioned it, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The person said ”The Republicans responded as you would expect. They went nuts. They questioned the intelligence.”

The US intelligence officials who briefed the committee warned that Russia was working to cast doubt on the integrity of the Nov. 3 vote while at the same time boosting Trump’s election to a second four-year term.

The briefer said Russians are favoring one candidate and they identified the candidate as Trump. The source denied elaborating any further.

The Republican members of the committee and the White House did not make any comment yet. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to make any comment.

A day after the briefing, Trump rebuked acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire for allowing his staff to appear before the committee, The New York Times reported quoting five people familiar with the matter. The newspaper confirmed Shelby Pierson, a Maguire lieutenant who oversees election security, led last week’s briefing for the House committee.

On Wednesday, Trump said he was replacing Maguire on an acting basis with Richard Grenell, a strong Trump loyalist who has served as ambassador to Germany since 2018.

US officials have long warned that Russia and other countries would try to0 interfere in the 2020 US presidential election. The country’s intelligence committee concluded that Russia used cyberattacks, fake news and other methods in an operation designed to swing the 2016 election to Trump over Hillary Clinton.

Since Trump took office, Russian meddling in the election created a lot of buzz and led a special investigation by Robert Muller. Though Mr. said that there was no conclusive evidence of coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, though he was unable, however, to clear Trump of obstructing his investigation.

Russia has always denied the accusation.

US President Trump and Russian President Putin met at a summit in 2018 where Trump has repeatedly questioned the finding. He said he found Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials of Russian meddling “extremely strong and powerful.”