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Joe Biden warns of interference in US elections by Russia, China, other foreign players

Biden said that since he is the putative nominee of the Democratic Party for the November 3 presidential elections, he is getting briefed by the intelligence.

Published: 21st July 2020 01:43 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st July 2020 01:43 PM   |  A+A-

Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden

Democratic presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden. (Photo| AP)

By PTI

WASHINGTON: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has warned that Russia, China, Iran and some other foreign players are working to interfere in the US presidential elections and said the best tool to stop these countries from meddling in the polls is to expose them immediately.

Biden, who was speaking at a fundraiser on Monday, said that since he is the putative nominee of the Democratic Party for the November 3 presidential elections, he is getting briefed by the intelligence.

The 77-year-old former vice president will challenge incumbent President Donald Trump, a Republican, in the election.

"We saw it in '16. We saw it in '18. And we're seeing it now. Russia, China, Iran and other foreign actors are working to interfere in our democracy and undermine our faith in our electoral process. We can't let that happen," Biden said.

"The best tool we have to stop countries from meddling is to expose them immediately," he said, adding "it's going to be tough, there's not much I can do about it now except talk about it, and expose it, but it is a serious concern. It is truly a violation of our sovereignty." Biden addressed two fundraisers on Monday.

The first one was hosted by Jon Gray, the Chief Operating Officer of Blackstone and his wife, Mindy Gray, the co-founder of the Gray Foundation.

Seventeen people joined the fundraiser, according to the campaign, which did not release the total amount raised.

The second one was a virtual event attended by some 550 people.

"As a president, I'll treat the interference in our election as an act of aggression against the United States. And there will be meaningful consequences.

I'll use the full extent of my executive authority to impose real, lasting cost.

Financial sector sanctions, freezing assets, cyber actions. Anything else to counter such clear assault on our national sovereignty," Biden said.

In a statement earlier, Biden alleged that the Trump administration has thus far failed to make adequate use of these authorities to counter and deter foreign election interference.

Instead, President Trump has repeatedly denied that Russia interfered in US elections, most egregiously during a joint press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on July 16, 2018, Biden alleged.

"In spite of President Trump's failure to act, America's adversaries must not misjudge the resolve of the American people to counter every effort by a foreign power to interfere in our democracy, whether by hacking voting systems and databases, laundering money into our political system, systematically spreading disinformation, or trying to sow doubt about the integrity of our elections," he said.

President Trump in his remarks for more than a year now has accused China of trying to influence and interfere in the US elections.

He has said that China wants to vote him out of power and wants Biden to win the November elections.

At the same time, he has repeatedly asserted that Russia has had no role in his 2016 victory and that the Democratic Party's allegations are a hoax.

However, Biden in his statements focused his allegations of foreign interference mainly on Russia.

"I am putting the Kremlin and other foreign governments on notice.

If elected president, I will treat foreign interference in our election as an adversarial act that significantly affects the relationship between the United States and the interfering nation's government," he said.

"I will direct the US intelligence community to report publicly and in a timely manner on any efforts by foreign governments that have interfered, or attempted to interfere, with US elections," he said.

"I will direct my administration to leverage all appropriate instruments of national power and make full use of my executive authority to impose substantial and lasting costs on state perpetrators.

"These costs could include financial-sector sanctions, asset freezes, cyber responses, and the exposure of corruption.

A range of other actions could also be taken, depending on the nature of the attack. I will direct our response at a time and in a manner of our choosing," Biden said.

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