In other election news, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe accused Russia and Iran of taking actions to interfere in the U.S. election, in a hastily arranged evening press briefing where no questions were allowed. FBI Director Christopher Wray, whom President Trump is reportedly considering firing, also spoke. Ratcliffe claimed Russia and Iran had obtained some voter registration information — information which is often available publicly.
John Ratcliffe: “This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy. To that end, we have already seen Iran sending spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump.”
While Ratcliffe claimed Iran was trying to damage Trump, he offered no details backing up that claim. The one example he cited appeared to show intimidation of Democratic voters. Ratcliffe accused Iran of sending threatening fake emails to some Democrats that were designed to look as if they were sent by the far-right Proud Boys.
Iran called the charges baseless and absurd and denied being behind the emails. Intelligence sources told Reuters it is still unclear who sent them.
Democrats on the Homeland Security Committee questioned the allegations. The committee initially tweeted, “DO NOT listen to Ratcliffe. Partisan hack.” That tweet was later deleted. The committee also tweeted, “TO CLARIFY: These election interference operations are clearly not meant to harm President Trump.”