Great Britain

Election BOMBSHELL: FBI confirm Russia and Iran are interfering in US poll

During a joint press conference with the FBI Mr Ratcliffe claimed both countries had “taken specific actions to influence public opinion” ahead of the November poll.

He commented: “We have confirmed that some voter registration information bas been obtained by Iran and separately by Russia.

“This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters.”

However Mr Ratcliffe, along with FBI director Chris Wray, assured Americans their electoral process remains secure.

Mr Wray said: “You should be confident that your vote counts. Early, unverified claims to the contrary should be viewed with a healthy dose of scepticism.”

Americans go to the polls on November 3 to select their next president.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic an unprecedented number are expected to vote this year via mail-in-ballot.

Democratic Party challenger Joe Biden is currently polling ahead of incumbent Donald Trump.

During the press conference Mr Wray claimed Iran was behind “spoofed” emails sent to Democratic voters in Florida.

The emails, which claimed to come from the far-right Proud Boys group, warned of consequences if the recipients didn’t vote for Mr Trump.

Mr Ratcliffe claimed they were intended “to incite social unrest and damage President Trump”.

The 2016 presidential election was marred by claims of foreign interference, with both the FBI and CIA concluding Russia had intervened to support Mr Trump.

Prior to the vote CIA Director John Brennan said: “Earlier this week, I met separately with FBI Director James Comey and DNI [Director of National Intelligence] Jim Clapper, and there is strong consensus among us on the scope, nature, and intent of Russian interference in our presidential election.”

The Trump campaign has always fiercely denied it collaborated in any way with the Russian intervention.

Ahead of the FBI’s announcement Marco Rubio and Mark Warner, chair and vice-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, emphasised the upcoming election remains safe.

They said: “Our adversaries abroad seek to sow chaos and undermine voters' belief in our democratic institutions, including the election systems and infrastructure that we rely on to record and properly report expressions of the voters' will.

“They may seek to target those systems, or simply leave the impression that they have altered or manipulated those systems, in order to undermine their credibility and our confidence in them.

“As we enter the last weeks before the election, we urge every American – including members of the media – to be cautious about believing or spreading unverified, sensational claims related to votes and voting.

“State and local election officials are in regular contact with federal law enforcement and cyber security professionals, and they are all working around the clock to ensure that Election 2020 is safe, secure, and free from outside interference.”

More to follow...

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