Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin authorized intelligence assets to promote misinformation about President Joe Biden through U.S. media and people close to then-President Donald Trump to try to boost Trump’s election chances, an American intelligence report said Tuesday.
In particular, the report said that Putin “had purview over the activities of Adriy Derkach, a Ukrainian legislator who played a prominent role in Russia’s election influence activities.”
Derkach, who has ties to Russian intelligence, is known to have met with Rudy Giuliani, the personal lawyer to Trump, who for months promoted discredited allegations against Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
The findings are outlined as the second “key judgment” of the declassified report on “Foreign Threats to the 2020 US Federal Elections” by the National Intelligence Council.
“A key element of Moscow’s strategy this election cycle was its use of people linked to Russian intelligence to launder influence narratives including misleading or unsubstantiated allegations against President Biden through US media organizations, US officials, and prominent US individuals, some of whom were close to former President Trump and his administration,” the report said.
“We assess that President Putin and other senior Russian officials were aware of and probably directed Russia’s influence operations against the 2020 Presidential election,” the report said.
The report said that Russian intelligence services, and people in Ukraine who had ties to those services, alleged that there were “corrupt ties between President Biden, his family, and other US officials and Ukraine.”
“Russian intelligence services relied on Ukraine-linked proxies and these proxies’ networks — including their US contacts — to spread this narrative to give Moscow plausible deniability of their involvement,” the report said.
“We assess that the goals of this effort went beyond the US presidential campaign to include reducing the Trump administration’s support for Ukraine. As the US presidential election neared, Moscow placed increasing emphasis on undermining the candidate it saw as most detrimental to its global interests.”
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