Intelligence officials have warned US lawmakers that Russia is interfering in this year’s US presidential election campaign to help US President Donald Trump get re-elected, two officials said on Thursday.
The disclosure, in a closed-door briefing last week, raises questions about the integrity of the US presidential campaign and whether Trump’s administration is taking the proper steps to combat the kind of interference that the US saw in 2016.
The two officials who were familiar with the briefing spoke on the conidtion of anonymity.
The warning was first reported by the New York Times and the Washington Post.
The Times said that the report infuriated Trump, who complained that US Democrats would use the information against him.
Over the course of his presidency, Trump has dismissed the intelligence community’s assessment of Russia’s 2016 election interference as a conspiracy to undermine his victory.
One day after the briefing to the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, Trump berated then-Acting US Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and he announced this week that Maguire would be replaced by Richard Grenell, a Trump loyalist.
Shelby Pierson, the US intelligence community’s top election security official, told NPR in an interview that aired last month that the Russians “are already engaging in influence operations relative to candidates going into 2020, but we do not have evidence at this time that our adversaries are directly looking at interfering with vote counts or the vote tallies.”
Pierson, appointed in July last year by then-US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, works with intelligence agencies such as the CIA, the FBI, the National Security Agency and the US Department of Homeland Security to identify anyone seeking to interfere with US elections.
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