WASHINGTON: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Aug 9 that the threats of interference in the US presidential election from Russia and China are not equal, pointing to a more serious risk with Moscow's efforts to boost President Donald Trump’s reelection bid.
"They’re not equivalent,” said Pelosi, Democrat-California. "Russia is actively 24/7 interfering in our election. They did so in 2016, and they are doing so now.” She urged intelligence agencies to "put more information out there” on the specific nature of the threats.
An intelligence report last week said Russia was already using a "range of measures” to undercut Trump's Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, and promote Trump with misinformation on social media. The statement on Aug 7 by William Evanina, director of the US National Counterintelligence and Security Center, also said China does not want Trump to win a second term and has accelerated its criticism of the White House, and that Iran is also hoping Trump will lose.
Pelosi said trying to equate China and Russia on the threat of foreign election interference doesn’t tell the story.
"The Chinese, they said, prefer Biden – we don’t know that, but that’s what they’re saying, but they’re not really getting involved in the presidential election,” she said.
Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, said on Aug 9 that the United States is taking any threat to US elections seriously. He said that China has engaged in cyberattacks and phishing "with respect to our election infrastructure.”
"We’re not going to put up with it,” he said. "We’re going to take every action necessary to keep folks out, whether it’s China or Russia or Iran or Cuba or Venezuela or others.”
Pelosi and other congressional Democrats have expressed concern that intelligence agencies have been withholding from the public specific intelligence information about the threat of foreign interference in American politics.
"The facts are chilling,” Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat-Connecticut, wrote in an op-ed published on evening of Aug 7 in The Washington Post. "I believe the American public needs and deserves to know them. The information should be declassified immediately.”
Pelosi spoke on CNN's "State of the Union" and ”Fox News Sunday" and O'Brien appeared on CBS' "Face the Nation”. – AP
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