President Donald Trump brushed off a U.S. intelligence report that Russia is working to "undermine" former Vice President Joe Biden's 2020 presidential campaign to help him. Trump said he was the "last person" Russia would want to be the American president, even though his own intelligence agencies said the opposite Friday. William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said there is also intelligence that China and Iran are meddling in the election.
When asked about Evanina's report at a Friday evening news conference, Trump pushed back on the report. "It could be," Trump told a reporter who asked if he believed Russia was working against Biden, reports CNBC. But then, Trump insisted he is "the last person Russia wants to see in office." The reporter noted the U.S. intelligence said otherwise, prompting Trump to say, "Well, I don't care what anybody says." Trump added that nobody with "any common sense would say" Russia wants him to win. A reporter followed-up, asking what he planned to do in response to the report. "Well, we're going to look at it very closely," he replied.
"I don't care what anybody says" -- Trump dismisses the intelligence community's announcement today that Russia is once again helping him pic.twitter.com/dCHTbJctN6— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 8, 2020
On Friday, Evanina said the U.S. Intelligence Community is "primarily concerned with the ongoing and potential activity" in meddling with the 2020 election by China, Russia, and Iran. While they believe Russia is taking measures to "denigrate" Biden, China and Iran want to see Trump lose. Before the election, "foreign states will continue to use covert and overt influence measures in their attempts to sway U.S. voters’ preferences and perspectives, shift U.S. policies, increase discord in the United States, and undermine the American people’s confidence in our democratic process," Evanina wrote. He said the statement was released to help Americans "play a critical role in safeguarding our election."
In Friday's statement, Evanina provided an example of how Russia was "denigrating" Biden's campaign. "For example, pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach is spreading claims about corruption – including through publicizing leaked phone calls – to undermine former Vice President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party," he wrote. "Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television."
Evanina's statement was a follow-up to a July 24 message, which was criticized by Democrats in Washington because they believed it did not go far enough to provide Americans with information on what China, Russia, and Iran were doing to influence the election. On Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff said the new statement was better but still criticized Evanina for treating all three countries as "equal threats" to the election. An official at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence responded to this criticism by telling CNN there was "no particular rank or order by which the threat actors are listed" in the new statement and they all "a threat to our election and it's imperative that we all work together as a nation to combat them."