Russia favors Trump to win 2024 presidential race, US intelligence says | 2024 US election news
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Russia favors Trump to win 2024 presidential race, US intelligence says | 2024 US election news

US intelligence assessments have found that Russia tried to influence campaigns to help Trump win in 2016, as well as in his unsuccessful race against Joe Biden in 2020.

Russia is once again favoring Republican Donald Trump as its favorite in this year’s U.S. presidential election, a U.S. intelligence official said.

The official, briefing reporters on U.S. election security, was careful not to name the former president and presumptive Republican Party nominee when asked who Moscow would like to see as the next U.S. president.

However, he noted that Russia favors Trump, adding that the US intelligence community has not changed its assessment of Moscow’s preferences since the previous election.

“We have not seen a change in Russia’s preferences for the presidential race compared to previous elections, given the role the United States is playing with respect to Ukraine and broader Russia policy,” an official with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) said Tuesday.

Previous assessments have shown that Moscow tried to use influence campaigns to help Trump win against Hillary Clinton in 2016, as well as in the 2020 campaign, which he lost to current US President Joe Biden.

Russia favors Trump to win 2024 presidential race, US intelligence says | 2024 US election news
Then-U.S. President Donald Trump (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin leave a news conference after meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, in 2018. (Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo)

Russia’s influence operations

So far, the United States has not detected any plans by any country to “undermine or disrupt” the ability to hold the presidential election in November, officials said at a briefing that included ODNI, the FBI and the National Coordinator for Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience, the agency that handles cyber defense for the U.S. government and private industry.

But Russia, the ODNI official said, continues to try to influence specific groups of American voters in key battleground states through social media and other means, promoting “divisive narratives and smearing specific politicians,” whom he did not name.

“Russia is taking a government-wide approach to influencing the election, including the president, Congress and public opinion,” he said.

Moscow “decides which candidates it is prepared to support or oppose largely based on their stance on continued U.S. aid to Ukraine and related issues,” the official said.

“These are all tactics we’ve seen before, mostly on social media” and “using the voice of the American people to amplify their narrative,” the official added.

The Trump campaign responded to Russia’s approval rating by saying Biden is weak on Russia, as evidenced by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

“When President Trump sat in the Oval Office, Russia and all of America’s adversaries were scared away because they feared the United States would respond,” Karoline Leavitt, a Trump campaign spokeswoman, said in a statement.

The Russian embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump has frequently criticized the scale of U.S. military support for Ukraine, which has totaled about $60 billion since Russia’s full-scale invasion in 2022. He has also called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “the greatest sellout in history.”

Two of Trump’s national security advisers have outlined plans to end US military support for Ukraine if Kiev does not begin talks with Russia to end the war.