Intelligence officials have briefed Congress on another Russian disinformation campaign ahead of an election, and this time it is against former Vice President Joe Biden.
According to CNN.com, Democrats and Republicans emerging from the classified briefing seem divided on what Russia is trying to do.
“The intelligence services have come to very firm conclusions about what the Russians are up to and who is acting on behalf of the Russians,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT). “In the briefings that I’ve received, there’s no ambiguity about what the Russians’ intention is and there’s no ambiguity about what narratives they are pushing. And there’s no ambiguity about the people they are using to push them.”
It seems to conflict with the spin Republicans are putting on it.
“It’s pretty clear that foreign governments want to disrupt our elections,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who is a golfing buddy of President Donald Trump. “That the Iranians and Chinese don’t have much love for Trump. The main thing is they are playing in our backyard — and that’s the big takeaway,”
But the briefing wasn’t on what Iran or China are doing, it was confirmation that Russia is waging another campaign in the U.S. It’s something Trump has ignored since taking office, and Republicans went along with the Russia-lovefest.
“The intelligence community, meanwhile, has been careful to steer clear of publicly suggesting Russia prefers one candidate over the other,” said CNN. But those familiar with the briefing are frustrated with the way lawmakers are trying to poliiticize information.
“Some Republicans appeared to downplay information related to foreign interference while some Democrats homed-in only on information related to Russia,” CNN said, citing the officials.
“My impression is … their pattern has been to seek to assist specific candidates,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), of overall foreign interference.
“It’s not so much that they necessarily think they are going to change your vote from one candidate to another. It’s about depressing turnout for candidates they don’t like and elevating turnout for candidates they do like,” said Michael Chertoff, a Republican who previously served as President George W. Bush’s Homeland Security secretary.
“But most of all, it is about creating uncertainty and suspicion and lack of confidence in our political leadership … which is really a way of saying that information campaigns are a tool of conflict,” he also said.