• Wed. Jan 20th, 2021

Sen. Warner says Americans need more details to stop Russian ‘disinformation’ effort

WASHINGTON — Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, called on the intelligence community to release more information about Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2020 election so that Americans aren’t “unwittingly” being used in a “Russian disinformation campaign.”

Pointing to the U.S. counterintelligence report from earlier this month that found, in part, that Russian agents are working to help boost President Trump, Warned warned that without more information, Americans could be furthering Russia’s goals.

“The intelligence community, 10 days ago, said the Russians are back trying to interfere in our elections again, that they have a disinformation, misinformation campaign targeted against Vice President Biden,” Warner said during an exclusive interview on “Meet the Press” Sunday.

“It’s incumbent on the intelligence community to lay out more of the facts of what we know about that disinformation campaign. My fear is there may be Americans that are unwittingly promoting that Russian disinformation campaign and I think they need to be briefed so they don’t became, frankly, agents in effect of this disinformation campaign.”

Aug. 23, 202007:56

The bombshell report, released by Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center Bill Evanina, found that “Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment,” while a pro-Russia Ukranian parliamentarian is leaking information “to undermine former Vice President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party.”

The report also found that China “prefers that President Trump — whom Beijing sees as unpredictable — does not win reelection,” and that Iran “seeks to undermine U.S. democratic institutions, President Trump, and to divide the country in advance of the 2020 elections.”

But with Russia’s interference during the 2016 election still top-of-mind for many Democrats, Warner focused primarily on Russia’s role during his interview.

Warner and the Senate Intelligence Committee last week released a report of its own that affirmed the intelligence community’s 2017 assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to help President Trump.

The report included a number of revelations including that Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was working with a “Russian intelligence officer,” that Trump likely spoke with associate Roger Stone about WikiLeaks, and an official familiar with the matter told NBC News that the Senate committee made criminal referrals of Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Steve Bannon and others to federal prosecutors in 2019.

Warner said Sunday that the bipartisan report showed “unprecedented contacts between Russians and folks on the Trump campaign” and urged Americans to read the report for themselves and “draw their own conclusions.”