By Seth Abramson
The new report from the Trump administration’s intelligence apparatus—a report focused on 2020 election interference—is misleading in ways U.S. voters desperately need to understand right now.
Here’s the breaking news from the WALL STREET JOURNAL on 2020 election interference. The goal of the Trump administration intelligence community has been to—deliberately—erroneously equalize three threats in the minds of voters: Russia, China, and Iran.
By focusing on—and equalizing—those three threats, two of which the Trump administration frames as being foreign efforts that are “pro-Biden” and only one of which is framed as “pro-Trump,” and by leaving out any significant focus on other threats, a false narrative is born.
As the WALL STREET JOURNAL reports, the Russian threat is broad, deep, persistent, pernicious, highly sophisticated, transnational, long-running, and devoutly pro-Trump. It is—far and away—the biggest threat from abroad to American voters and to our electoral infrastructure.
But even as the Trump administration tries to equalize the Russian threat with the Chinese one, look at what the WSJ reports as to the Chinese activities: they are “public-facing,” “[not] covert,” and largely an effort to “deflect criticism of China.” Seems different, right?
The WSJ continues, noting China wants to “shape the US policy environment”—and is doing so in a way “increasingly critical of the administration’s COVID-19 response, closure of China’s Houston consulate, and actions on other issues.” That seems like normal activity from China?
So what gives? Russia is waging cyberwar on us; Trump’s intelligence community is permitting a framing that may cause some to lump the “China threat” in with the Kremlin one; but when we look at their respective activities, China’s doesn’t even read like election interference?
Here’s the truth: Donald Trump already openly solicited Chinese election aid, according to Trump’s former NSA, doing so twice in June 2019 (once in person, once on a call); he then publicly asked for Chinese aid; and his aide Michael Pillsbury says China already gave it.
Given that all of this has already been reported by major media, why isn’t the top-line election-interference intel on China (1) that such interference was asked for three times by the U.S. president, and (2) that in response to these asks, illegal election aid was given?
Where is the assessment of how Trump’s quid pro quo with China—already perfected—involved US trade policy with China and intel on the emerging coronavirus? Where are the previously reported quotes from Chinese powerbrokers saying Beijing prefers Trump because he can be bought?
What we get, instead, is a new claim not supported by anything yet reported: that Beijing supports Biden. Moreover, this new claim is proven by Beijing… let me see if I have this right… criticizing Trump administration policy it dislikes?
Isn’t that standard diplomacy?
In other words, why is China being mentioned as a pro-Biden election interferer, but when you read the news, you can’t figure out what they’re actually doing that’s unusual—and moreover, all their prior activity (widely reported on) was pro-Trump and solicited by Trump?
To be clear, Chinese does have a massive bot army on U.S. social media; that’s been known and reported on for years. There’s no question that that army critiques any policies Beijing believes harms it. But again, it’s been true for years, and isn’t specific to Trump or 2020.
Any intel report on China that doesn’t lead with Trump asking Beijing for aid and getting it; that doesn’t cite Bolton as an eyewitness to secret Trump entreaties for Chinese aid; or that ignores how Trump negotiated with Beijing or handled China intel in 2019 is simply bunk.
China isn’t happy with certain Trump administration policies, just as it wasn’t with certain Obama/Biden policies. It believes Trump can be bought, but that Obama/Biden couldn’t be. It has entered into a quid pro quo with Trump. Chinese election interference is pro-Trump.
So what about Iran? That’s a much clearer case in certain ways—and much more complex in others. No one doubts that Iran passionately wants Joe Biden to win. That’s consistent with all the evidence compiled in my books Proof of Conspiracy (2019) and Proof of Corruption (2020).
Trump and his allies in the Middle East (MBS, MBZ, and Netanyahu) have openly plotted Iran’s destruction ever since Trump and his crew engineered the U.S. pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal—even as the opinion of the entire rest of the world was that it was working well.
It’d be national suicide for Iran to support Trump, so neither I nor anyone else who’s written books on Trump’s foreign policy—or his compromise at the hands of foreign nations—is surprised to see WSJ report Iran “seeks to undermine…President Trump, and to divide the US.”
It’s also not surprising how Iran is doing it, because it’s an identical method to how MBS, MBZ, and Israel illegally interfered in the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf: “through” (writes the WSJ) “an online influence campaign that includes disinformation on social media.”
So if Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Israel interfered on Trump’s behalf in 2016—which they did, though the U.S. counterintelligence community refuses to release its report on it—why in the world wouldn’t they do so again in 2020, indeed more so to counter Iran’s operation?
North Korea was a major cybercriminal threatening America pre-Trump—now it’s not focused on by the IC. Is that because Trump gave Kim Jong Un all he wanted by basically letting North Korea further develop its nuclear program? Why aren’t such major developments highlighted?
Here’s what objective major-media reports—i.e., not from Trump’s executive branch—tell us about pre-election election interference in 2020:
🇰🇵: Pro-Trump or Neutral
🇮🇷: Pro-BidenQuite a difference, huh?
The clear purpose of the report just issued is to leave voters with the impression that it’s all a big wash: some foreign actors want to aid Trump, some want to aid Biden, they’re all doing things covertly, they’re all doing things online, yadda yadda yadda, who really knows.
The truth: Russia, China, pro-Kremlin elements in Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Israel are engaged in the broadest and most US-administration-solicited election interference in American history. Iran is trying to aid Biden because Trump wants it destroyed—literally.
I don’t condone any interference. All of it is vile and must be rejected; law enforcement should prosecute anyone who solicits or aids/abets it, no matter which party they’re from.But Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Israel have acted in an especially vile way.
I hope you’ll retweet the first tweet in this thread widely. This thread isn’t based on conjecture—it’s based on the years of research I did for my books on Trump’s foreign policy. Whatever its motives for what it reports/withholds, the USIC is misleading America right now.
NOTE/ Those aiding Trump—Russia, pro-Kremlin elements in Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Israel, and China—have provably bribed Trump (see my books for the reports and cites). They’ve made Trump an agent of their designs via quid pro quos. Iran has no special relationship with.
We don’t have evidence yet that Trump was formally recruited by the Kremlin—so yes, those saying so are fringe conspiracy theorists operating on hunches, not the facts. But it hardly matters: we do have evidence Trump is acting as an agent of these nations via bribery.