Joe Biden says that he’s begun receiving intelligence briefings and warns that Russia, China and other adversaries are attempting to undermine the upcoming US election in November.
The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee wasn’t specific and offered no evidence while addressing a virtual fundraiser with more than 200 attendees. But, in the process, he confirmed receiving classified briefings after saying as recently as late last month that he wasn’t getting them but might request one about reports of Russian bounties being offered on US troops in Afghanistan.
“We know from before, and I guarantee you I know now because now I get briefings again. The Russians are still engaged, trying to de-legitimise our electoral process. Fact,” Mr Biden said Friday. “China and others are engaged as well in activities designed for us to lose confidence in the outcome.”
The White House and National Security Council didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on Mr Biden’s statement. Reached by phone, a Biden spokesperson did not immediately provide further details.
US intelligence agencies say Russia meddled in the 2016 election with the goal of swaying the contest toward Donald Trump, and officials have warned that there remains a threat of foreign interference in the 2020 contest.
Throughout his presidency, Mr Trump has questioned the intelligence community’s findings about the 2016 Russian interference and called investigations into whether his campaign had any connection to the meddling a “hoax.”
Mr Biden received intelligence briefings while vice president but told reporters he wasn’t getting them as of June 30. He said then that Mr Trump’s administration had not offered classified briefings, even though they are traditionally provided to major-party nominees once they win the primary.
Mr Biden won’t formally become the Democratic presidential nominee until the party’s convention next month.
Mr Biden has previously suggested that Mr Trump could hold up emergency funding to help the Postal Service continue normal operations during the coronavirus, which has devastated the agency’s finances and contributed to a huge drop in mail volumes.
Mr Trump has repeatedly said he opposes expanding mail-in balloting during the pandemic, suggesting without evidence that doing so could lead to widespread fraud – even though there is equally no evidence the President or White House will use Postal Service funding to do what Mr Biden is suggesting.
Mr Biden lobbed similar charges on Friday, saying Mr Trump may try to “defund the post office so they can’t deliver mail-in ballots.”
“Frankly, this is the thing that keeps me up most at night,” Mr Biden added.
“Making sure everyone who wants to vote can vote, making sure that the vote is counted, making sure we’re all trusting in the integrity of the results of the election.”