Dueling Narratives Emerge From Muddied Account of Russia’s 2020 Interference

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But some intelligence officials mentioned Ms. Pierson did not say that the present interference was explicitly on Mr. Trump’s behalf. Other folks in the briefing stated that in response to lawmakers’ abide by-up inquiries, officers produced the relationship in between the Russian preference for Mr. Trump and Moscow’s attempts to interfere in the election.

The difference in between actively backing Mr. Trump and preferring his re-election is a subtle nuance, officers say, but an important 1: It is most likely as well early for the Russians to start out any major shift to bolster a unique prospect. In 2016, they at very first sought to result in chaos and harm Hillary Clinton, intelligence studies launched later that 12 months reported, but only in the very last few months before the election did they actively operate to elect Mr. Trump.

If they go the identical route now, it would not be inconsistent with backing Mr. Sanders for the Democratic nomination, in component for the reason that Mr. Sanders has voted towards new sanctions on Russia and simply because he is considered a noninterventionist. And they may possibly conclude, rightly or wrongly, that Mr. Trump could beat Mr. Sanders.

Mr. O’Brien appeared to have small doubt that the Russians most well-liked Mr. Sanders. “What I have read from the F.B.I.,” he reported, “is that Russia would like Bernie Sanders to acquire the Democrat nomination. They’d most likely like him to be president, understandably, for the reason that he needs to devote money on social plans and in all probability would have to consider it out of the military services.”

He did not give the source of that intelligence.

Mr. Sanders has denounced Russia and warned it not to interfere in the election.

Mr. Biden, who was in office environment as the Obama White Dwelling struggled above how to respond to Russian interference in 2016, noticed some benefit in declaring he was the applicant Mr. Putin hated.

“The Russians do not want me to be the nominee,” he reported on “Face the Nation.” “They put in a good deal of dollars on bots on Fb, and they’ve been taken down, stating Biden is a negative dude. They do not want Biden working. They are not — no one’s serving to me to attempt to get the nomination. They have very good purpose.”

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