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Russian Interference in 2020 Included Influencing Trump Associates, Report Says
March 16, 2021
The assessment was the intelligence community’s most comprehensive look at foreign efforts to interfere in the election.
By Julian E. Barnes
WASHINGTON — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia authorized extensive efforts to interfere in the American presidential election to denigrate the candidacy of Joseph R. Biden Jr., including intelligence operations to influence people close to former President Donald J. Trump, according to a declassified intelligence report released Tuesday.
The report did not name those people but seemed to be a reference to the work of Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, who relentlessly pushed allegations of corruption about Mr. Biden and his family involving Ukraine.
“Russian state and proxy actors who all serve the Kremlin’s interests worked to affect U.S. public perceptions in a consistent manner,” the report said.
The declassified report represented the most comprehensive intelligence assessment of foreign efforts to influence the 2020 vote. Besides Russia, Iran and other countries sought to influence the election, the report said. China considered efforts to influence the presidential vote, but ultimately concluded that any such operation would fail and likely backfire, intelligence officials concluded.
A companion report by the departments of Justice and Homeland Security also rejected false allegations promoted by Mr. Trump’s allies in the weeks after the election that Venezuela or other foreign countries defrauded the election.
The reports, compiled by career officials, amounted to a repudiation of Mr. Trump, his allies and some of his top administration officials. They categorically dismissed allegations of foreign-fed voter fraud, cast doubt on Republican accusations of Chinese intervention on behalf of Democrats and undermined the allegations that Mr. Trump and his allies spread about the Biden family’s work in Ukraine.