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Intel officials say Russia boosting Trump 2020 candidacy

Russia meddling again?

Intelligence officials have warned lawmakers that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election campaign to help President Donald Trump get re-elected, according to three officials familiar with the closed-door briefing.

Trump pushed back Friday accusing Democrats of launching a disinformation campaign.

"Another misinformation campaign is being launched by Democrats in Congress saying that Russia prefers me to any of the Do Nothing Democrat candidates who still have been unable to, after two weeks, count their votes in Iowa. Hoax number 7!” Trump tweeted.

The officials, who asked for anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence, said Thursday that the briefing last week focused on Russia’s efforts to influence the 2020 election and sow discord in the American electorate. The intelligence warning was first reported by The New York Times and The Washington Post.

A senior administration official told The Associated Press that the news infuriated Trump, who complained that Democrats would use the information against him. Over the course of his presidency, Trump has dismissed the intelligence community’s assessment of Russia’s 2016 election interference as a conspiracy to undermine his victory. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private meeting.

A day after the Feb. 13 briefing to the House committee, Trump berated the then-director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, and he announced this week that Maguire would be replaced by Richard Grenell, a Trump loyalist.

Moscow denied any meddling. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that the allegations are “paranoid reports that, unfortunately, there will be more and more of as we get closer to the elections (in the U.S.). Of course, they have nothing to do with the truth.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted that, “American voters should decide American elections — not Vladimir Putin." She added that all members of Congress “should condemn the President’s reported efforts to dismiss threats to the integrity of our democracy & to politicize our intel community.”

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chairman of the House intelligence committee, tweeted: “We count on the intelligence community to inform Congress of any threat of foreign interference in our elections. If reports are true and the President is interfering with that, he is again jeopardizing our efforts to stop foreign meddling. Exactly as we warned he would do.”

U.S. intelligence agencies say Russia interfered in the 2016 election through social media campaigns and stealing and distributing emails from Democratic accounts. They say Russia was trying to boost Trump’s campaign and add chaos to the American political process. Special counsel Robert Mueller concluded that Russian interference was “sweeping and systematic,” but he did not find a criminal conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign.



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