Kremlin denies meddling in 2020 US election campaign

US President Donald Trump on Friday said on Twitter that the idea that Russia wants him to win re-election was "another misinformation campaign" launched by Democrats.

It rejects as paranoia US intelligence warning that Russia is trying to get Trump re-elected

MOSCOW • The Kremlin said allegations from United States intelligence officials that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election campaign and trying to boost President Donald Trump's re-election chances are false and the result of paranoia.

Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get the President re-elected, five people familiar with the matter said, a disclosure to Congress that angered Mr Trump, who complained that Democrats would use it against him.

The day after the Feb 13 briefing to lawmakers, Mr Trump berated Mr Joseph Maguire, the outgoing acting director of national intelligence, for allowing it to take place, people familiar with the exchange said.

"These are more paranoid announcements which, to our regret, will multiply as we get closer to the (US) election," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

"They have nothing to do with the truth."

Mr Trump was allegedly irritated in particular that Democrat Adam Schiff, the leader of the impeachment proceedings which Mr Trump survived, was at the briefing.

During the briefing to the House Intelligence Committee, Mr Trump's allies challenged the conclusions, arguing that he had been tough on Russia and that he had strengthened European security.

Some intelligence officials viewed the briefing as a tactical error, saying the conclusions could have been delivered in a less pointed manner or left out entirely to avoid angering Republicans.

Although intelligence officials previously told lawmakers that Russia's interference campaign was continuing, last week's briefing included what appeared to be new information: that Russia intended to interfere with the 2020 Democratic primaries as well as the general election.

On Wednesday, the President announced that he was replacing Mr Maguire with Mr Richard Grenell, ambassador to Germany and an aggressively vocal Trump supporter.

A Democratic House Intelligence Committee official called the Feb 13 briefing an important update about "the integrity of our upcoming elections" and said that members of both parties attended, including Representative Devin Nunes of California, the top Republican on the committee.

 
 
 

In a tweet on Thursday evening, Mr Schiff said it appeared that Mr Trump was "again jeopardising our efforts to stop foreign meddling" with his objections to the briefing.

Mr Trump has long accused the intelligence community's assessment of Russia's 2016 interference as the work of a "deep-state" conspiracy intent on undermining the validity of his election.

The intelligence community issued an assessment in early 2017 that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered a campaign of influence in the previous year's election and developed "a clear preference for President-elect Trump". But Republicans have long argued that Moscow's campaign was intended to sow chaos, not aid Mr Trump specifically.

REUTERS, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 22, 2020, with the headline 'Kremlin denies meddling in 2020 US election campaign'. Print Edition | Subscribe