ABC’s Jonathan Karl reported on new government intelligence Wednesday that the Russians are seeking to sow discord in American politics by casting doubt over former Vice President Joe Biden’s mental fitness for office.
“It was meant to be a warning, an intelligence bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) alerting local, state and federal law enforcement to a Russian scheme to damage Joe Biden’s presidential campaign,” Karl explained.
The draft bulletin, according ABC News, was titled “Russia likely to denigrate health of U.S. candidates to influence 2020 election” and was supposed to be released to law enforcement agencies raising the alarm that Russia is trying to convince American voters that Biden isn’t mentally equipped for the Oval Office but was never distributed.
“We assess Russian malign influence actors are likely to continued denigrating presidential candidates through allegations of poor mental or physical health to influence the outcome of the 2020 elections,” the bulletin read.
EXCLUSIVE: DHS withheld publication of intelligence bulletin warning of Russian scheme to push “allegations about the poor mental health” of Joe Biden, per emails and document draft obtained by @ABC. @jonkarl has the full story. https://t.co/E2Af2hBsTz pic.twitter.com/Ro5yk3BkzQ
— Good Morning America (@GMA) September 2, 2020
While the Russians are allegedly aiming to prop up Trump’s campaign by targeting Biden’s cognitive decline, which is very real and becomes much more apparent with every rare interview when the campaign allows to Biden to speak to friendly journalists. Just last week, Biden appeared to be reading from notes during an appearance on CNN with Anderson Cooper.
Joe Biden is clearly reading from a script while struggling to get through this interview with Anderson Cooper pic.twitter.com/PsD7vBLIik
— Tristan Justice (@JusticeTristan) August 27, 2020
In early August, Biden’s staff also appeared to give Biden notes to rely on during his call with California Sen. Kamala Harris when he was officially asking that she join him on the Democratic ticket.
The same intelligence, according to ABC News, reports that Chinese and Iranian actors are seeking to sow doubt about the incumbent president’s mental fitness. Just this week, President Trump refuted claims stemming from a book by a New York Times writer that Vice President Mike Pence was put on standby to take over during Trump’s visit to Walter Reed hospital. The president also denied other claims that the visit was for a “series of mini-strokes.”
A DHS spokesperson told ABC News that “while DHS does not comment on leaked documents, this particular draft product lacked the necessary context and evidence for broader dissemination outside of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A). After briefing the Acting Secretary, I&A leadership delayed the product for further review.”
Wednesday afternoon, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf rejected ABC News’ assertion that the agency maliciously kept the intelligence from co-operative law enforcement under his orders and emphasized it did not meet the high standards of credibility to warrant distribution.
.@DHS_Wolf on violence sweeping American cities: "We encourage any other city or state that is having violent activity, if it outpaces your resources, call the federal government. We'll provide some resources, and we'll get you the resources that you need." pic.twitter.com/ipDlC6qLhs
— The Daily Briefing (@dailybriefing) September 2, 2020
“Some of the accusations in the ABC story that you reference [are] completely inaccurate,” Wolf said on Fox News.
The report that you referenced was, at the end of the day, a very poorly written report. I had questions about it when I talked to career officials in I&A [Intelligence and Analysis] in the office that produced the report. They also had questions about it. They’re hard at work on rewriting that report, putting it in better context. I hope to see that record out soon. But again, I’m going to continue to do my job, make sure that the information coming out of the department is first rate.
Here’s ABC News airing Chinese propaganda from Wuhan:
In this tweet, @ABC is publishing what appears to be a largely uncut propaganda video from China Central Television, which is state television that answers to the Chinese Communist Party. https://t.co/UTg0NyMXkw
— Omri Ceren (@omriceren) April 8, 2020