US officials charged with protecting the 2020 election said on August 26 they have “no information or intelligence” that foreign countries, including Russia, Iran, and China, are attempting to undermine any part of the mail-in voting process, contradicting President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly pushed false claims that foreign adversaries are targeting mail ballots as part of a “rigged” presidential race. Specifically, a senior intelligence official discounted the possibility of foreign actors mass producing fake ballots to interfere in the November elections, again breaking with Trump who has continued to insist that mail-in voting poses a significant threat to election security. “We have no information or intelligence that any nation-state threat actor is engaging in activity … to undermine any part of the mail-in vote or ballots,” the official told reporters. However, senior officials declined to discuss Russia’s efforts to seize upon the President’s attempts to sow mistrust and doubt about the mail in voting process.
While the intelligence community and other relevant agencies have made a concerted effort to release information related to election security threats in recent weeks, they have been reluctant to address questions about the President’s actions or whether Russia, specifically, is tailoring its messaging based on Trump’s comments. Still, the comments from senior US intelligence officials highlight just how isolated President Donald Trump is with his rhetoric about election security and voting misconduct. His conspiratorial claims about widespread fraud and “rigged elections” have now been rejected by top US officials from his own administration, state officials from both parties, and nonpartisan voting experts. It is also the latest example of how President Trump is routinely out-of-step with the views of the US intelligence community regarding issues of national importance, including Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Trump campaign officials and the White House have repeatedly declined to comment when asked why the President continues to promote lies related to mail-in voting despite being told by election security officials that there is no intelligence or information to back up his claims. In an email to CNN hours after the briefing, Trump campaign spokesperson Thea McDonald declined to address why the President’s theories about voting were publicly rejected by top US intelligence officials. She instead offered an ominous and misleading warning about potential election shenanigans by Democrats. “The intelligence community is right to keep a close eye on this issue, as Democrats attempt to flood the zone with tens of millions of unrequested mailed ballots that will undoubtedly throw our election system into chaos,” McDonald said, omitting that unrequested absentee ballots are mailed out in only nine states and ballots go only to registered voters.