Trump Dismisses U.S. Intelligence Reports Warning Of Russian Help In His 2020 Relection Bid
By RFE/RL February 21, 2020
WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump has rejected reported assertions by U.S. intelligence officials that Russia was interfering in the 2020 presidential election in a bid to help his reelection campaign.
In a post on Twitter on February 21, Trump described the reports as "another misinformation campaign…launched by Democrats in Congress."
The same day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also rejected the reports as "more paranoid announcements."
"They have nothing to do with the truth," Peskov said.
The New York Times, The Washington Post, and AP separately reported on February 20 that the warning was given during a closed-door briefing by U.S. intelligence officials on February 13.
They cited two officials familiar with the briefing who asked for anonymity.
The Times said the briefing angered Trump, who said Democrats would use the information against him.
The Kremlin on February 21 denied that Russia was interfering in the 2020 election campaign.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow on February 21 that the warnings made by U.S. intelligence officials were false.
"This is another in a series of paranoid reports, and we regret to say that they will become more frequent as the election approaches," Peskov said. "They certainly have nothing to do with the truth."
The U.S. intelligence community concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election through social-media campaigns and the hacking of e-mail accounts of leading Democrats in order to boost Trump's campaign and undermine his Democratic rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Trump has called the conclusions a "hoax." He has also vehemently denied suggestions that his team worked together with Russian figures during the election. Russia has denied it interfered in the 2016 vote.
The Times reported that, during the recent congressional briefing in Washington, Trump's allies challenged the intelligence warnings and said the president had been tough on Russia.
At a public hearing earlier in February, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee that Moscow was engaged in "information warfare" ahead of the November election through a covert social-media campaign aimed at dividing the American public and sowing discord.
With reporting by AP, dpa, Reuters, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.
Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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