Democratic 2020 presidential frontrunner Joe Biden has come under attack from President Donald Trump, who allegedly attempted to persuade the government of Ukraine to investigate the business dealings of the former vice president and his son, Hunter Biden. But, according to a new report on Friday, Biden may now be under attack from another political adversary — Russia.
United States law enforcement authorities, as well as intelligence agencies, are now “assessing whether Russia is trying to undermine Joe Biden in its ongoing disinformation efforts,” according to the report by Bloomberg News.
The investigators are probing whether the Russian government has been actively involved in promoting attacks on Biden, falsely claiming to link him, as well as his sole surviving son, to corruption in Ukraine.
The allegations against the Bidens have been widely debunked. However, Trump continues to openly promote the narrative. On Thursday night, at a rally in Toledo, Ohio, Trump promised to say,”‘Where’s Hunter?” every single debate, nine times a debate,” according to a Twitter report by Vox.com reporter Aaron Rupar. The promise was based on the condition that the elder Biden is nominated to run against Trump in the general election.
According to reports published late last year, it was Russian President Vladimir Putin who personally sold Trump on the Ukraine conspiracy theories. This includes the idea — also frequently expressed by Trump — that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that interfered in the 2016 election.
Putin is known among intelligence agencies for his “ability to convince people of outright falsehoods,” William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, told Bloomberg News. Evanina went on to say that Russia will “keep up their influence campaigns and utilize new vectors of disinformation” during the 2020 election campaign.
Three major U.S. investigations — by the intelligence community, the Senate Intelligence Committee, and special counsel Robert Mueller — have concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election with the express purpose of aiding the Trump campaign and damaging then-nominee of the Democratic Party Hillary Clinton.
The new revelation — that U.S. authorities believe that Russia is now actively involved in smearing the leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination — appears to demonstrate that Russia maintains its clear preference for Trump, according to Talking Points Memo founder Josh Marshall.
“This is another example of why the ‘hey, next time they could be attacking the Republicans’ line was always frankly bogus,” Marshall wrote on his Twitter account Friday. “Russia supports Trump.”
A Biden campaign spokesperson, Andrew Bates, echoed Marshall’s comments.
“Vladimir Putin has interfered in our elections before and it’s no surprise he’s doing so again to prop up President Trump,” Bates said.