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William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, before Congress in 2018. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina said Friday that the Russian government is "using a range of measures" to "denigrate former Vice President Biden" before the November election.

Why it matters: Evanina warned that some Kremlin-linked actors are trying to support President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television, while others are spreading false claims about corruption to undermine Biden and the Democratic Party.

The big picture: The counterintelligence chief in July warned that China, Russia and Iran all pose threats for election interference in the 2020 presidential race.

  • He noted on Friday that "[m]any foreign actors have a preference for who wins the election, which they express through a range of overt and private statements."

China: Evanina said that per the counterintelligence community's assessment, the Chinese government would prefer Trump lose his reelection bid because it views him as "unpredictable."

  • China has pressured political figures that it deems in opposition to its national interests and has criticized the Trump administration's response to the COVID-19 pandemic and actions on Hong Kong, TikTok and the South China Sea.
  • "Beijing recognizes that all of these efforts might affect the presidential race," Evanina said.

Iran: Meanwhile, the counterintelligence community believes that the Iranian government is seeking to "undermine U.S. democratic institutions, President Trump, and to divide the country in advance of the 2020 elections."

  • Iran is likely to spread disinformation on social media and recirculate anti-U.S. content, he said.
  • "Tehran’s motivation to conduct such activities is, in part, driven by a perception that President Trump’s reelection would result in a continuation of U.S. pressure on Iran in an effort to foment regime change."

What they're saying:

  • "The intelligence assessments above represent the most current, accurate, and objective election threat information the IC has to offer in an unclassified setting at this time."
  • "Providing objective intelligence analysis is the solemn duty of the men and women of the IC, who work day and night around the world, often at great personal risk, to safeguard our nation."

Go deeper: An election like no other

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
Nov 13, 2020 - World

Nearly the whole world considers Biden president-elect

Expand chart
Data: Axios research; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

With China belatedly congratulating Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on their election victory on Friday, the list of countries still declining to acknowledge Biden's victory is getting very short.

State of play: Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro, Mexico's Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Russia's Vladimir Putin are among the very few world leaders who say they're waiting for President Trump's legal challenges to play out. North Korea's Kim Jong-un is in a slightly larger group — those who've declined to comment on the results either way.

John Kelly: Trump's delay in transitioning "hurts our national security"

John Kelly with President Trump in the White House in January 2017.

President Trump's delay in transitioning "hurts out national security," John Kelly, Trump's former chief of staff, told Politico on Friday.

Why it matters: Trump has not publicly conceded to Joe Biden, and General Services Administration Administrator Emily Murphy — a Trump political appointee — has not signed documents declaring Biden the apparent winner, preventing his agency review teams from having access to the information they need in order to get to work.

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.