Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: ‘Nobody’s been tougher on Russia than I have’
President Trump dismissed new intelligence that Russia is working to denigrate former Vice President Joe Biden, maintaining he’s taken a tough stance on Moscow during his time in the White House.
“It could be, it could be very much. I think that the last person Russia wants to see in office is Donald Trump because nobody’s been tougher on Russia than I have, ever,” Trump said at a briefing Friday when asked about the intelligence.
When pressed by a reporter over the new report’s conclusion that Russia is working to hinder Biden’s presidential bid, Trump fired back: “I don’t care what anybody says.”
President Trump responds to question about Russian meddling in 2020 election: “The last person Russia wants to see in office is Donald Trump because nobody’s been tougher on Russia than I have ever.” pic.twitter.com/F3EjDRvvgo
— The Hill (@thehill) August 8, 2020
The president defended his stance on Russia, noting that he’s boosted funding for the U.S. military and pressured allies to increase their commitments to NATO.
The rebuke comes after William Evanina, the director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, identified China, Russia and Iran as the three top foreign threats to the U.S. presidential race, warning that they are trying to “sway voters’ preferences and perspectives,” create conflict and “undermine the American people’s confidence in our democratic process.”
“Many foreign actors have a preference for who wins the election, which they express through a range of overt and private statements; covert influence efforts are rarer. We are primarily concerned about the ongoing and potential activity by China, Russia, and Iran,” Evanina said in a statement.
Evanina said intelligence had concluded that China does not want Trump to win reelection because it considers him “unpredictable,” and Iran is trying to “undermine” U.S. democratic institutions and the president.
“China would love us to have an election where Donald Trump lost to sleepy Joe Biden. They would dream, they would own our country,” Trump said. “If Joe Biden was president, China would own our country.”
But Evanina also said that officials had determined that Russia is trying to “denigrate” Biden, noting the Obama administration’s policies on Ukraine and its support for opponents to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump said “nobody with any common sense” would agree that Russia would want him reelected.
Russia’s complex effort to interfere in 2016’s election included a sophisticated social information disinformation campaign and hacks targeting election infrastructure in all 50 states, as well as the networks of the Democratic National Committee to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
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