US intelligence report on the 2020 election dismisses claims of fraud, hacking

ODNI says Russia and Iran, but not China, sought to influence the election.

Marcos Brindicci / Reuters

While both Russia and Iran sought to influence the outcome of the 2020 US presidential election, no foreign country tried to change the results of any ballots or votes. That’s the main takeaway from a newly declassified report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). As The Washington Post reports, the document supports claims US government officials like former CISA director Christopher Krebs made at the end election when they said the contest was the “most secure in American history.”

ODNI’s findings also directly contradict that of former President Trump, who frequently sought to paint China as the greater threat to US election security. China “is a FAR greater threat than Russia, Russia, Russia,” he said in a tweet from September. According to the agency, going into the 2020 election, the country wanted a more stable relationship with the US. However, it decided, whether Donald Trump or Joe Biden won, neither result would have changed things enough to risk meddling. China instead turned to tools like lobbying to exert its influence.

Russia, on the other hand, did try to affect the outcome of the election, according to ODNI. Vladimir Putin authorized his country’s intelligence agencies to support the former president as well as undermine the public’s confidence in the electoral process. But those efforts stopped short of hacking any candidates as the country did in 2016 when it leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee.