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US intelligence officials warn of Russian interference in 2020 election

U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions from reporters before departing the White House May 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. Photo by Olivier Douliery/ Abaca Press

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

U.S. intelligence officials have warned U.S. lawmakers that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election in an attempt to help the campaign of President Donald Trump.

The New York Times, The Washington Post, and AP separately reported on February 20 that the warning was given during a closed-door briefing by U.S. intelligence officials on February 13.

They cited two officials familiar with the briefing who asked for anonymity.

The Times said the briefing angered Trump, who said Democrats would use the information against him.

The Kremlin on February 21 denied that Russia was interfering in the 2020 election campaign.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow on February 21 that the warnings made by U.S. intelligence officials were false.

“This is another in a series of paranoid reports, and we regret to say that they will become more frequent as the election approaches,” Peskov said. “They certainly have nothing to do with the truth.”

The U.S. intelligence community concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election through social-media campaigns and the hacking of e-mail accounts of leading Democrats in order to boost Trump’s campaign and undermine his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Trump has called the conclusions a “hoax.” He has also vehemently denied suggestions that his team worked together with Russian figures during the election. Russia has denied it interfered in the 2016 vote.

The Times reported that, during the recent congressional briefing in Washington, Trump’s allies challenged the intelligence warnings and said the president had been tough on Russia.

At a public hearing earlier in February, FBI Director Christopher Wray told the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee that Moscow was engaged in “information warfare” ahead of the November election through a covert social-media campaign aimed at dividing the American public and sowing discord.