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Russian President Vladimir Putin. Source: Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images.
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  • According to an American intelligence report, Russian President Vladimir Putin likely directed efforts to try and swing last year’s U.S. presidential election in favour of Donald Trump
  • The report said some of Trump’s top allies were playing into Moscow’s hands by amplifying claims made against now-President Joe Biden
  • As a result of the allegations, Washington is expected to impose sanctions on Moscow as soon as next week
  • The report also found other attempts to sway American voters, including a “multi-pronged covert influence campaign” by Iran designed to undercut Trump
  • A counter-narrative spun by Trump’s allies, which claimed that China was interfering on Biden’s behalf, was also quashed

According to an American intelligence report released on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin likely directed efforts to try and swing last year’s U.S. presidential election in favour of Donald Trump.

Published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the 15-page report added weight to long-standing claims that some of Trump’s top allies were playing into Moscow’s hands by amplifying claims made against now-President Joe Biden.

As a result of the allegations, Washington is expected to impose sanctions on Moscow as soon as next week.

The revelations about Putin’s role are expected to receive particular attention given the report’s findings that Russia-backed figures, like Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach, enlisted unnamed U.S. politicians in their campaign to smear Biden and his son Hunter.

“Putin had purview over the activities of Andriy Derkach,” the report said.

“Other senior officials also participated in Russia’s election influence efforts — including senior national security and intelligence officials who we assess would not act without receiving at least Putin’s tacit approval.”

U.S. intelligence agencies and former Special Counsel Robert Mueller previously concluded that Russia had similarly interfered in the 2016 U.S. election, boosting Trump’s run with propaganda aimed at harming his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

In addition to the revelations regarding Putin and Russia, the report also found other attempts by foreign entities to sway American voters in 2020, including a “multi-pronged covert influence campaign” by Iran designed to undercut Trump.

A counter-narrative spun by Trump’s allies, which claimed that China was interfering on Biden’s behalf, was also quashed, with the report concluding that Beijing “did not deploy interference efforts.”

“China sought stability in its relationship with the United States and did not view either election outcome as being advantageous enough for China to risk blowback if caught,” it said.

U.S. officials said they also saw efforts by Cuba, Venezuela and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah to influence the election, although “in general, we assess that they were smaller in scale than those conducted by Russia and Iran.”

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