Russia is reprising its still-unproven 2016 election meddling efforts, this time targeting Democratic challenger Joe Biden, according to FBI Director Christopher Wray, who gave no evidence to support his crowd-pleasing claims.
Wray told the House of Representatives that Russia is taking a “very active” role in the 2020 US election, claiming Moscow “continues to try to influence our elections, primarily through what we call malign foreign influence” during a Thursday hearing on national security threats.
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According to the FBI director, the Russians’ primary goal seems to be not only to “sow divisiveness and discord,” but to trash Democratic nominee Joe Biden – along with “what the Russians see as a kind of anti-Russian establishment” – through social media, “use of proxies,” state-run media, and “online journals.”
Wray contrasted 2020’s alleged meddling with that of 2016, which he claimed involved “an effort to target election infrastructure,” presenting no evidence to back up either current or past claims – other than that the FBI or other intelligence agencies had made the same claims in the past. There is no actual evidence that Russia interfered with election infrastructure in 2016.
While four years of similarly flavored conspiracy theories blaming Russia for Donald Trump’s 2016 win have come up empty-handed, the paucity of real-world evidence for ‘Russian meddling’ has not stopped Wray and other US intel officials from hyping it up as a major threat to the integrity of the democratic process.
The National Counterintelligence and Security Center suggested last month that, while Russia would interfere in the election in favor of Trump, China and Iran would meddle on behalf of Biden – implying Americans couldn’t vote at all without doing the bidding of a foreign nation.
Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats even suggested Congress create another election integrity body to supervise the vote in November, apparently concerned the existing authorities – all 54 of them, one for each state plus four federal entities tasked with keeping meddlers, foreign and domestic, shut out – weren’t enough.
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Wray insisted the FBI was not only working closely with its state and federal counterparts, but also interfacing on a daily basis with social media companies – though he did not go into detail regarding what information the tech giants were handing over to law enforcement (or vice versa).
During his testimony before Congress, Wray also broke with the Trump administration’s viewpoint on the subject of Antifa, insisting the often-violent leftist group was “more of an ideology than an organization.” However, he admitted “we have seen folks who subscribe or identify with the Antifa movement, who coalesce regionally into small groups or nodes, and they are certainly organized at that level.” Trump has called for Antifa to be declared a terrorist organization.
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