US: Putin approved operations to help Trump against Biden
Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized influence operations to help Donald Trump in last November's presidential election, according to a declassified intelligence assessment that found broad efforts by the Kremlin and Iran to shape the outcome of the race but ultimately no evidence that any foreign actor changed votes or otherwise disrupted the voting process.
The report released on March 16 from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence represents the most detailed assessment of the array of foreign threats to the 2020 election. These included efforts by Iran to undermine confidence in the vote and harm Trump's re-election prospects as well as Moscow operations that relied on Trump's allies to smear Joe Biden, the eventual winner.
Despite those threats, though, intelligence officials found "no indications that any foreign actor attempted to interfere in the 2020 US elections by altering any technical aspect of the voting process, including voter registration, ballot casting, vote tabulation, or reporting results."
The report is the latest official affirmation of the integrity of the election, even as Trump supporters continue to make false claims of interference, from foreign or domestic actors, and refuse to accept Biden's victory. Multiple courts and even Trump's own Justice Department refuted claims of widespread fraud.
The document makes clear that even while Trump has cried foul about the legitimacy of the election, intelligence officials believe Russia sought to influence people close to Trump as a way to tip the election in his favor.
The report wades into the politically charged task of ferreting out which foreign adversaries supported which candidates during the 2020 election, an issue that dominated...