The Chinese government wants President Donald Trump to lose the 2020 election, while Russia wants him to win, the office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) announced Friday.
The revelation came as part of the DNI’s Friday update on threats to the upcoming U.S. election, saying both countries are actively attempting to influence the outcome. While the DNI’s office says China has been ramping up its efforts ahead of November, it says Russia has a more robust system in place for attempting to destabilize U.S. elections.
“We assess that China prefers that President Trump – whom Beijing sees as unpredictable – does not win reelection,” William Evanina, Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center wrote in a Friday statement. “China has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment in the United States, pressure political figures it views as opposed to China’s interests, and deflect and counter criticism of China.”
Trump has been heavily critical of China since gaining office in 2017, but has ramped up his rhetoric after the coronavirus spread out from China across the globe. He has taken to calling COVID-19 the “China virus” and has suggested the U.S. is investigating ways to hold China accountable for its role in allowing the virus to reach pandemic proportions.
Evanina had a similar statement regarding Russia’s efforts. (RELATED: As Pence Campaigns In Pennsylvania For The Third Time In Two Months, Another Poll Shows Trump Down In The State)
“We assess that Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment,'” Evanina wrote. “This is consistent with Moscow’s public criticism of him when he was Vice President for his role in the Obama Administration’s policies on Ukraine and its support for the anti-Putin opposition inside Russia.”
The announcement comes as Trump is leading a heavy debate over the national use of mail-in ballots in the November election, saying the method would invite fraud. He went so far as to float the idea of delaying the election at the end of July, but the idea was met with criticism even from his Republican allies.
“Never in the history of this country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time,” Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said at the time. “We will find a way to do that again this November 3rd. We will cope with whatever the situation is and have the election on November 3rd as already scheduled.”
Trump soon clarified his statement, saying he did not want to change the date of the election but did fear the results of the election could be delayed months thanks to mail-in ballots.