Officials in Moscow are denying accusations of involvement in efforts to interfere in U.S. elections, one day after the charges were leveled against Russia and Iran by Director of National Intelligence John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeThis Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead DOJ charges two Iranians with interference in 2020 election In dramatic shift, national intelligence director does not rule out 'extraterrestrial' origins for UFOs MORE.
Reuters reported that Kremlin officials denied the accusations Thursday morning; more information about the statement from Russian authorities was not immediately available.
Ratcliffe told reporters at a news conference late Wednesday that the intelligence community had identified two countries guilty of actions aimed at influencing opinion among the U.S. voters.
“We have identified that two foreign actors, Iran and Russia, have taken specific actions to influence public opinion relating to our elections,” Ratcliffe said.
He added that Russia and China are both thought to have obtained some official information collected about U.S. voters.
“Although we have not seen the same actions from Russia, we are aware that they have obtained some voter information, just as they did in 2016. Rest assured that we are prepared for the possibility of actions by those hostile to democracy,” Ratcliffe said.
Iranian officials also reportedly responded to Ratcliffe's accusations by summoning the top Swiss diplomatic envoy in the country on Thursday. Switzerland represents U.S. interests in the country.
“Iran’s strong rejection of American officials’ repetitive, baseless and false claims was conveyed to the Swiss ambassador ... As we have said before, it makes no difference for Iran who wins the U.S. election,” a foreign ministry spokesman said, according to Reuters.
The U.S. intelligence community overwhelmingly concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, seeking to help Trump and hurt his Democratic rival, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCountering the ongoing Republican delusion Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future MORE, through cyberattacks and a sophisticated disinformation campaign.
During a 2018 press conference, Trump famously appeared to side with Russian President Vladimir Putin over U.S. intelligence officials regarding the Kremlin's involvement in the 2016 elections.