Issued on: 22/10/2020 – 02:15
US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said on Wednesday that Russia and Iran have both tried to interfere with the 2020 presidential election.
Ratcliffe made the announcements at a hastily arranged news conference that also included FBI Director Chris Wray.
The announcement two weeks before the election showed the level of alarm among top U.S. officials that foreign actors were seeking to undermine Americans’ confidence in the integrity of the vote and spread misinformation in an attempt to sway its outcome.
“We have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran, and separately, by Russia,” Ratcliffe said during the news conference.
Most of that voter registration is public. But Ratcliffe said that government officials “have already seen Iran sending spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump.”
Ratcliffe was referring to emails sent Wednesday and designed to look like they came from the pro-Trump Proud Boys group, according to government sources.
Outside experts said that if Ratcliffe was correct, Iran would be trying to make Trump look bad by calling attention to support and threats by the sometimes violent group.
A spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations denied Iran had sought to meddle in the U.S. election.
“Iran has no interest in interfering in the U.S. election and no preference for the outcome,” spokesman Alireza Miryousefi said in a statement.
U.S. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, who received a classified briefing on Wednesday afternoon on election security, said he disagreed with Ratcliffe that Iran was specifically trying to hurt Trump.
“It was clear to me that the intent of Iran in this case and Russia in many more cases is to basically undermine confidence in our elections. This action I do not believe was aimed … at discrediting President Trump,” Schumer told MSNBC in an interview.
"From the briefing, I had the strong impression it was much rather to undermine confidence in elections and not aimed at any particular figure," Sen. Schumer says, discussing DNI Ratcliffe's remarks that Iran's election interference scheme was designed to "damage" Pres. Trump. pic.twitter.com/ylTcLD161N
‘QAnon Shaman’ Jake Angeli charged over pro-Trump riots
A prominent follower of the baseless conspiracy theory QAnon has been charged over the US Capitol riots.
Jacob Anthony Chansley, known as Jake Angeli, is in custody on charges including violent entry and disorderly conduct.
Mr Chansley, who calls himself the QAnon Shaman, is allegedly the man pictured with a painted face, fur hat and horns inside Congress on Wednesday.
Donald Trump faces another impeachment charge for his role in the unrest.
Democrats accuse the president of encouraging the riots, in which five people died.
The FBI has been appealing to the public to help bring the assailants to justice.
Mr Chansley has not commented publicly on the charges.
A statement from the federal attorney for Washington DC said: “It is alleged that Chansley was identified as the man seen in media coverage who entered the Capitol building dressed in horns, a bearskin headdress, red, white and blue face paint, shirtless, and tan pants.
“This individual carried a spear, approximately 6 feet in length, with an American flag tied just below the blade.”
The statement said police had also detained a man from Florida believed to have been photographed carrying House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern from the House of Representatives chamber.
Adam Johnson, 36, is being held on charges including one count of theft of government property and one count of violent entry.
Also among those charged is West Virginia lawmaker, Derrick Evans. He is alleged to have posted a video of himself online, standing outside the building with Trump supporters, and then going inside.
He was arrested on Friday and is also accused of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol Grounds, the Department of Justice statement said.
More than a dozen people have now been charged in offences related to the assault on the Capitol building. They include an Alabama man allegedly found with 11 Molotov cocktails near the unrest.
Mr Trump is due to leave office in 11 days. Democrats in the House of Representatives plan to introduce an article of impeachment against him on Monday, for “incitement of insurrection”.
A White House spokesperson said impeaching the president at this late stage would only further divide the country.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-55606044
US election: Trump tells Georgia election official to ‘find’ votes to overturn Biden win
US President Donald Trump has been recorded telling Georgia’s top election official to “find” enough votes to overturn the election result.
“I just want to find 11,780 votes,” Mr Trump told Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in a recording released by the Washington Post.
Mr Raffensperger is heard replying that Georgia’s results were correct.
Mr Biden won Georgia alongside other swing states, winning 306 electoral college votes to his Mr Trump’s 232.
Since the 3 November vote, Mr Trump has been alleging widespread electoral fraud without providing any evidence.
He tweeted on Sunday that Mr Raffensperger had not given details of the fraud the president alleges. “He has no clue!” the president tweeted.
All 50 states have certified the election result, some after recounts and legal appeals. So far, US courts have rejected 60 challenges to Mr Biden’s win.
Congress is due to formally approve the election result on 6 January.
Mr Biden, a Democrat, is due to be inaugurated as president on 20 January.
Voters in Georgia are due to vote again on Tuesday to elect two senators for the state. The result could determine the balance of power in the Senate – if the two Democrat contenders win, then there will be equal numbers of Republican and Democratic senators and Democratic Vice-president-elect Kamala Harris will have the deciding vote.
Mr Biden’s Democrats already control the lower House of Representatives.
What happened during the call?
In the excerpts released by Washington Post, Mr Trump can be heard alternately cajoling and pressurising Georgia’s secretary of state.
He insisted that he had won the election in Georgia and told Mr Raffensperger that there was “nothing wrong with saying you have recalculated”.
Mr Raffensperger responded by saying: “The challenge you have Mr president is that the data you have is wrong.”
Later in the call Mr Trump said the rumour was that ballots had been shredded and voting machinery had been removed from Fulton County in the state – a charge Mr Raffensperger’s lawyer said it was not the case.
The president then threatened the official with possible legal consequences.
“You know what they did and you’re not reporting it. That’s a criminal offence. You can’t let that happen. That’s a big risk to you and to Ryan, your lawyer,” Mr Trump said.
He told Mr Raffensperger he should re-examine the result in the state.
“You can re-examine it, but re-examine it with people who want to find answers, not people who don’t want to find answers,” he said.
“Mr President, you have people who submit information and we have our people that submit information and then it comes before the court and the court has to make a determination,” Mr Raffensperger replied. “We have to stand by our numbers, we believe our numbers are right.”
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2020-55524838
Fact-checking Trump’s conspiracy theory connecting Georgia’s secretary of state to China
In the waning days of his presidency, Donald Trump continues to spread nonsense conspiracies over the 2020 election and the officials who oversaw it, attacking Georgia’s governor and secretary of state on Twitter Tuesday.
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