Former national security adviser Susan RiceSusan RiceBlack Caucus meets with White House over treatment of Haitian migrants David Sirota calls Susan Rice stock divestment 'corruption deduction' White House memo urges cities to use coronavirus funds to combat crime MORE said Thursday that she is “100 percent convinced” that Russian adversaries will seek to interfere in U.S. elections this year.
“I almost never say this, but [I am] 100 percent convinced that Russia is doing much of what it did in 2016 and certainly more,” Rice, who also previously served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said during a virtual event hosted by The Washington Post.
Rice pointed to recent statements by a top official at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that acknowledged efforts by Russia, China and Iran to interfere in U.S. elections this year, with Russia’s efforts meant to promote President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE, and China's and Iran’s efforts aimed at defeating Trump.
Rice emphasized that Russia’s election interference activities were at “a completely different scale” than China's or Iran’s efforts, and described a previous national intelligence statement on election security concerns as being “muddled” and trying to “conflate what China and Iran might be doing” with Russian interference efforts.
“We need to be worried not only about Russian disinformation — its activity on social media which is constant, aimed at misleading and dividing and instilling fear and hatred between and among Americans — but we need to be concerned also about what efforts it might make again to infiltrate our voting systems, and corrupt either our voting rolls or even potentially the voting count itself,” Rice said.
“That’s very hard to do, and hopefully in the intervening years, even more steps have been taken to harden our system, I believe in many cases that’s the case, but I also think the Russians aren’t going to stop trying,” Rice added.
According to the U.S. intelligence community, the report compiled by former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE and the Senate Intelligence Committee, Russian agents engaged in a sweeping and sophisticated effort to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
These efforts included a disinformation campaign across social media platforms, targeting voting infrastructure in all 50 states, and hacking into the systems of the Democratic National Committee.
The Senate Intelligence Committee released a declassified version of its fifth and final report on Russian interference efforts earlier this week, which detailed significant ties between Russian intelligence officers and top 2016 Trump presidential campaign officials.
Rice described the report as “remarkable” and praised the bipartisan report for being more detailed around contacts between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign than the Mueller report was.
Rice on Thursday also pointed to new concerns around election integrity beyond Russian interference, pointing to concerns around an ongoing investigation by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonLiberal group launches campaign urging Republicans to support Biden's agenda Domestic extremists return to the Capitol GOP senator: Buying Treasury bonds 'foolish' amid standoff over debt ceiling, taxes MORE (R-Wis.) into the Obama administration and the Bidens as part of a effort to spread disinformation.
“It’s not just the Russians, it’s not just the Trump campaign and those involved with it, it’s also at least a handful of Republicans in the Senate who seem to be willing to sully themselves with Russian propaganda in order to advantage Donald Trump again in this election,” Rice said.
Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsDems punch back over GOP holdup of Biden SBA nominee Biden threatens more sanctions on Ethiopia, Eritrea over Tigray conflict Senate Democrats to Garland: 'It's time to end the federal death penalty' MORE (Del.), the lead Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee panel with jurisdiction over federal election funds, said during a separate virtual interview hosted by The Washington Post that he also was concerned about foreign interference in elections this year, noting that “there are plenty of warnings that Russia intends to and is trying to interfere with our elections this fall.”
“I am concerned about the security and sanctity of our elections this fall, one that we should be able to conduct safely in the middle of a pandemic,” Coons said.
Other top officials have also raised concerns about foreign interference in elections over the past months. Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoRepublican lawmakers raise security, privacy concerns over Huawei cloud services WashPost fact-checker gives Pompeo four 'Pinocchios' for 'zombie' claim about Obama Iran deal Poll: Biden, Trump statistically tied in favorability MORE said in July that he is “confident that many countries will do their level best to have an impact on our election.”