Mike Pence: "China wants a different American President"
Vice President Mike Pence will lay out the Trump administration's case that China is "meddling in America’s democracy" in a speech this morning, according to excerpts of his prepared remarks.
What to watch: Axios' Jonathan Swan reported recently that the Trump administration was planning an "administration-wide" anti-China campaign. This is part of that ongoing effort.
Why it matters: President Trump raised eyebrows by declaring last week, without offering evidence, that China was meddling in the midterms.
- Pence is attempting to put meat on those bones, while laying out a broader case that Beijing is a threat to U.S. interests and a destabilizing force around the world.
- He'll also make an explicit comparison to Russian interference, saying: "What the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what [China] is doing across this country."
Between the lines: This speech comes on a headline-packed day when it comes to Russian and Chinese hacking and intelligence activities.
- Russian spies attempted to hack the Netherlands-based global chemical weapons watchdog investigating the poisoning of ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and were subsequently kicked out of the country, Dutch authorities announced this morning. The Department of Justice then issued indictments against 7 Russian intelligence officers.
- Bloomberg reports that China used tiny microchips, installed in servers of some of America's largest companies, in an attempt to gain "long-term access to high-value corporate secrets and sensitive government networks."
The big picture: Pence's speech matches warnings from intelligence officials and other experts that China is ramping up its intelligence activities and influence operations around the world.
- On election interference, though, Pence's case is less clear cut. He cites as an example of election interference the fact that China targeted tariffs at key midterm election states — the European Union and others did the same thing.
Go deeper ... The view from Beijing: A coordinated propaganda attack against China