Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a campaign to help former President Donald Trump and undermine President Biden in last year’s election, according to US intelligence agencies. Putin is shown here on March 12th at a residence outside Moscow. Alexei Druzhinin / AP Hide caption
Alexei Druzhinin / AP
Alexei Druzhinin / AP
A new report According to the US secret services, Russia tried on Tuesday to help former President Donald Trump in last year’s presidential election. However, the document also stressed that there is no evidence that Russia or any other country attempted to change the actual votes.
Russian President Vladimir Putin approved “influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party, supporting Trump, undermining public confidence in the electoral process and exacerbating socio-political divisions in the US,” it said it in the report of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The unclassified report is the most comprehensive look the intelligence services have released to the public regarding foreign efforts to meddle in the 2020 elections.
The key message, however, is the same one the intelligence services have been conveying since last August: Russia wanted Trump to win, even though its efforts were not on the same scale as in the 2016 elections.
No evidence of election fraud
US election officials have repeatedly described the vote as safe and fraud-free over the past year. In their statement, the secret services state that there was no fraud from abroad.
“We have no evidence that any foreign actor has attempted to change any technical aspect of the voting process in the 2020 US election, including voter registration, voting, voting table or reporting of results,” the report said.
Trump and his supporters have made a number of unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud by foreign countries such as Venezuela.
During the campaign, Trump downplayed US intelligence reports that Russia was trying to help him. He countered the allegation that China was making a major push to back Biden.
But Trump did not provide any evidence, and the intelligence report says China has chosen not to participate directly in the US elections.
“We estimate that China has considered, but not used, lobbying efforts to change the outcome of the US presidential election,” the report said. “China sought stability in its relations with the United States and did not see either election result as favorable enough for China to risk meddling.”
In the wake of Russia’s electoral influence in 2016US intelligence agencies have dramatically stepped up their efforts to prevent it from happening again.
US officials say the Russians did not operate on the same scale and were unable to hack sensitive campaign email or run a widespread social media campaign.
Still, the Russians tried to influence the elections on several fronts.
“A key element of Moscow’s strategy in this election cycle has been the use of representatives connected to Russian intelligence to advance influence narratives – including misleading or baseless allegations against President Biden – US media organizations, US officials and prominent US individuals, including some close to President Trump and his administration, “the report reads.