Did Putin plot to hurt Joe Biden's 2020 election campaign? Internet says 'Trump sold America for a few pennies'
Putin allegedly relied on a 'range of Russian government organizations' to denigrate the Biden candidacy, support Trump's re-election and undermine public confidence in the US electoral process
Russian President Vladimir Putin allegedly authorized influence operations to help Donald Trump in last November’s presidential election, according to a declassified intelligence report released on Tuesday, March 16. He allegedly authorized extensive efforts to hurt the candidacy of American President Joe Biden during the election last year and reportedly mounted covert operations to influence people close to Trump.
The assessment, released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, reportedly found broad efforts by the Kremlin, Iran and other countries that sought to sway the outcome of the race. Ultimately, however, no evidence that any foreign actor changed votes or otherwise disrupted the voting process was indicated in any part "including voter registration, ballot casting, vote tabulation, or reporting results".
China reportedly considered its own efforts but ultimately realized they would fail and most likely backfire, officials concluded.
Giuliani met an 'active Russian agent'
The report, released on March 16, presents a detailed assessment of the array of foreign threats to the 2020 election but did not name anyone. However, it seemingly referred to the work of Trump’s former personal lawyer Rudolph W Giuliani, who relentlessly pushed accusations of corruption about Biden and his family involving Ukraine.
Giuliani met multiple times with Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach. In 2020, Derkach had reportedly released heavily edited recordings of Biden in an effort to link him to unsubstantiated corruption allegations. US officials have reportedly described Derkach as an “active Russian agent” and the report believed Putin to have had “purview” over his activities.
Putin allegedly relied on a "range of Russian government organizations" to denigrate the Biden candidacy, support Trump's re-election and undermine public confidence in the US electoral process. Russia reportedly viewed Biden's presidency as opposed to the Kremlin's interests and sought to undermine it, though it did take some steps to prepare for a Democratic administration as the election neared.
Moscow reportedly also relied on proxies linked to Russian intelligence “to launder influence narratives" through media organizations, US officials and Trump's aides to push “misleading or unsubstantiated" allegations against Biden. Russia, was, however not as aggressive as in past election cycles in trying to hack election infrastructure, the report claimed.
China, Iran, try their luck
China's reported decision not to interfere "was informed by China's preference for stability in the bilateral relationship, their probable judgment that attempting to influence the election could do lasting damage to US-China ties, and belief that the election of either candidate would present opportunities and challenges for China," the report claimed.
The report is the latest official affirmation of the integrity of the election, even as Trump supporters have cried foul about the legitimacy of the election and refused to accept Biden’s victory.
Iran also reportedly carried out its own influence campaign aimed at harming Trump's re-election bid, an effort probably approved by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to US officials. They say Iran's efforts were more aggressive than in past elections and continued even after the contest was over, focussed on sowing discord in America, as Tehran believed it would hurt the former president's re-election chances.
Though Iran reportedly tried to exploit vulnerabilities on state election websites and compromised "US entities associated with election infrastructure as a part of a broad targeting effort across multiple sectors worldwide,” it did not attempt to manipulate votes or affect the election infrastructure, the report concluded.
'Trump sold America for a few pennies'
People took to Twitter to share their views on the new revelation. Speaking of the Kremlin's efforts, one user said. "This also means Putin is weaker than he was four years ago, which suggests that his whole Trump experiment has ultimately backfired on him." Another said, "Putin just keeps lending the Former Guy money. Trump sold America out for a few pennies."
Many agreed to have just known it. "The whole Trump connection to Putin has always been so blatantly obvious. I don’t know how anyone could have ever doubted it," said a user. "I become more certain each day that 25 yrs from now (maybe sooner) Vladimir Putin's 'operation trump' will be considered the most successful espionage plot against the US in our history," said another.
This also means Putin is weaker than he was four years ago, which suggests that his whole Trump experiment has ultimately backfired on him.— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) March 16, 2021
Putin hust keeps lending the Former Guy money. Trump sold America out for a few pennies.— DCNATIVE (@DCNATIVE8) March 17, 2021
The whole Trump connection to Putin has always been so blatantly obvious. I don’t know how anyone could have ever doubted it.— shannon prowell (@shandy091) March 17, 2021
I become more certain each day that 25 yrs from now (maybe sooner) Vladimir Putin's "operation trump" will be considered the most successful espionage plot against the US in our history.— Les LeMieux, Sr (@leslsenior) March 17, 2021
'Putin has no magic wand'
Others wondered how Russia's seemingly thorough efforts did little to change the course of Biden's victory. "So Putin tried to help Trump again in 2020, and Trump lost in a landslide?" laughed a user. "So Putin tried to help Trump in the 2020 election but failed. Told you Putin didn’t have a magic wand. We drove sufficient turnout this time, and it overcame all the cheating efforts," said another.
So Putin tried to help Trump again in 2020, and Trump lost in a landslide?— (((Manny Schewitz))) (@MannySchewitz) March 17, 2021
So Putin tried to help Trump in the 2020 election but failed. Told you Putin didn’t have a magic wand. We drove sufficient turnout this time, and it overcame all the cheating efforts.— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) March 16, 2021