Intel community: Iran and China want Trump to lose, Russia targeting Biden

Three countries seek to meddle, undermine confidence in the election ahead of November.

Updated: August 8, 2020 - 11:22am

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China, Iran and Russia have each signaled their preferred presidential candidates in the 2020 election, the intelligence community revealed this week, with American intelligence raising concerns over each country's active and potential efforts to undermine and meddle in the presidential race this fall. 

China and Iran are both indicating a preference for Trump to lose, National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina revealed in a statement on Friday; Russia, meanwhile, has shown a preference for Donald Trump to prevail in November. 

China, for instance, in recent months "has grown increasingly critical of the [Trump] Administration’s COVID-19 response, closure of China’s Houston Consulate, and actions on other issues," Evanina said.

The country "has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment in the United States, pressure political figures it views as opposed to China’s interests, and deflect and counter criticism of China," he wrote. Chinese leaders see Trump as "unpredictable," Evanina noted. 

Iran has also sought to "undermine U.S. democratic institutions, President Trump, and to divide the country in advance of the 2020 elections," Evanina said, claiming that Iranian intelligence will likely utilize Internet agents to advance those goals. 

Russia, meanwhile, is "using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden," while "some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television."

Evanina in the statement said the intelligence community is "doing everything in its power to combat both cyber and influence efforts targeting our electoral process."

"Our election should be our own," he continued. "Foreign efforts to influence or interfere with our elections are a direct threat to the fabric of our democracy."

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