The United States intelligence report on the foreign threat to the 2020 presidential elections has contradicted the often-repeated statements by former President Donald Trump and other senior members of his administration that China, and not Russia interfered with the integrity of the election. The 15-page report by the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence said that Russian President Vladimir Putin either oversaw or at least approved of the November 3 election meddling to benefit Trump.
"We assess that Russian President Putin authorized, and a range of Russian government organisations conducted, influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting former President Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process, and exacerbating sociopolitical divisions in the US,” the report said.
However, Trump had previously made public remarks about China interfering in the election. These baseless claims were further promoted by former Attorney General William Barr and former national security adviser Robert O'Brien that Beijing was threatening the integrity of the democratic process more aggressively than Russia or Iran.
CNN has previously reported that the former US President had decried any suggestion that Russia posed an equally dangerous threat as China as a “witch hunt” against him. Subsequently, the Trump administration officials also significantly made public remarks on Beijing and downplayed Moscow’s actions. A whistleblower had even accused the top Trump political appointees in the US Department of Homeland Security of instructing career officials to “cease providing intelligence assessments on the threat of Russian interference in the US and instead start reporting on interference activities by China and Iran,” according to documents obtained by the media outlet.
The order reportedly came from O’Brian, as per the complaint. However, the new report under the Biden administration refutes the claims made by the former US President and his allies over foreign interference in the election.
Further, the report also stated that, unlike the 2016 presidential elections, the US officials were not able to find persistent Russian cyber efforts to gain access to election infrastructure. But ODNI report added, “We have high confidence in our assessment; Russian state and proxy actors who all serve the Kremlin’s interests worked to affect US public perceptions in a consistent manner.”