Oct 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump and lawmakers react to intel alert on Russia and Iran election interference

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) (L) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), both members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, participate in a discussion at the Atlantic Council July 16, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Sen. Mark Warner and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in Washington, D.C. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump and lawmakers reacted to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe's announcement that Iran and Russia sought to influence the U.S. election by obtaining voter registration data in an attempt to spread false information.

What they're saying: Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Vice Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) urged Americans in a joint statement to "be cautious" ahead of the Nov. 3 election "about believing or spreading unverified, sensational claims related to votes and voting."

"Our adversaries abroad seek to sow chaos and undermine voters’ belief in our democratic institutions, including the election systems and infrastructure that we rely on to record and properly report expressions of the voters' will. They may seek to target those systems, or simply leave the impression that they have altered or manipulated those systems, in order to undermine their credibility and our confidence in them."
— Rubio and Warner

President Trump mocked House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) at his rally for warning about a Russian disinformation campaign.

  • But he later tweeted a link to a report on the intelligence warning with the comment, "Ratcliffe: Iran and Russia Have Obtained Voter Info, Iran Has Tried to 'Damage President Trump.'"

Sen. Angus King (I-Maine), who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said,"We are under attack and we are going to be up to Nov. 3 and probably beyond," per the New York Times.

  • "This may be the beginning of a more concerted operation. They don’t have to do anything; they just have to make people think they are doing something," he added.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), a ranking member of the Senate Rules Committee with oversight over federal elections, said in a statement: "Any interference in our democracy is unacceptable, and efforts to suppress the vote must be stopped.

  • "As adversaries continue their efforts to undermine our election systems, we must arm ourselves with accurate information from trusted officials. ... The best defense against those trying to undermine our democracy is the resolve of the American people, who are voting by the millions as we speak. Keep voting."

Go deeper: Russia's 2020 election manipulation looks a lot like 2016

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