WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — Security officials and lawmakers are preparing for malign foreign actors to try to interfere in U.S. Elections in 2020, using some of the same methods in the 2016 Election meddling.
“Some foreign actors are covertly trying to undermine confidence in our election,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. He says this time, the Justice Department is more prepared.
“The Justice Department and our colleagues in government have been adapting to foreign actors malign activities, and actively combatting and defending against them,” said Rosen.
Rosen and lawmakers in the House and Senate say there’s no evidence Russia is trying to hack into states’ voting systems, or change any ballots directly. Lawmakers say Russian actors are instead actively promoting social media and influence campaigns to sow division among American voters.
“They are laundering false information about the Vice President through congress,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Schiff says Russian actors have sent disinformation to congressional offices. “We have asked all members of congress receive a defensive briefing from the FBI, so that if they start using material that they’ve received that is part of this Kremlin false narrative, they know exactly what they’re doing.”
“The most important thing you can do against these interference efforts is awareness. People know what they look like, so now they become suspicious when they see certain things,” said Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who says Iran and China are also working to undermine the election, similar to Russian efforts.
“These guys are constantly out there trying to push narratives in the public domain that get us to fight against one another, to doubt our elections,” said Rubio.
“The real tools are with the intelligence agencies and our military,” said Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat from Illinois. Durbin says protecting our election systems properly requires Congress passing election security bills to provide funding to states.
“It’s one thing to have a press conference in Washington, it’s another thing to say to the county courts, democrats and republicans, here are some resources to make sure your job is going to be effective and the results are going to be accurate,” said Durbin.
For now the Senate remains on recess, and isn’t expected to take up any imminent election security legislation.