Aug 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Intel officials: No evidence of foreign efforts to undermine mail-in voting

Bill Barr and Trump

Barr and Trump. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

U.S. intelligence officials told reporters on a call Wednesday that they have seen no evidence that foreign powers are working to undermine mail-in voting ahead of the 2020 election, AP reports.

Why it matters: The briefing from officials at multiple federal agencies undercuts claims made by President Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr that mail-in voting is susceptible to coordinated fraud, including by foreign actors seeking to interfere in the election.

  • "The Dems talk of foreign influence in voting, but they know that Mail-In Voting is an easy way for foreign countries to enter the race. Even beyond that, there’s no accurate count," Trump tweeted on July 30, during one of his countless broadsides against universal mail-in ballots.
  • Barr said in June that foreign sabotage of mail-in ballots is “one of the issues that I’m real worried about,” telling the New York Times: "We’ve been talking about how, in terms of foreign influence, there are a number of foreign countries that could easily make counterfeit ballots, put names on them, send them in. And it’d be very hard to sort out what’s happening."

Between the lines: Barr and Trump have provided no evidence for their claims. Barr told the House Judiciary Committee last month that his assessment was based on "common sense."

The big picture: Officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency spoke with reporters on the condition of anonymity.

  • "We have no information or intelligence that any nation-state threat actor is engaging in any activity to undermine the mail-in vote or ballots,” said a DNI official, according to Politico.
  • "We have not seen to date a coordinated national voter fraud effort during a major election,” an FBI official added. “It's extraordinarily difficult to change a federal election outcome through this type of fraud alone.”
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