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Kremlin Denies Meddling in 2020 US Elections

FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with government members via a video conference call at Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia, Feb. 10, 2021.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday a U.S. intelligence report indicating Russia meddled in 2020 U.S. elections was “wrong and has absolutely no foundation and evidence."

Peskov was reacting to a report released Tuesday by the Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence (DNI) saying Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized influence operations aimed at denigrating U.S. President Joe Biden, boosting former President Donald Trump, undermining confidence in the election and exacerbating social divisions in the United States.

The report said they did not see - as in 2016 - a persistent effort on the part of Russia to gain access to U.S. election infrastructure.

In a telephone briefing with reporters, Peskov said Russia did not interfere with U.S. elections in 2016 or 2020 as mentioned in the report.

“Russia has nothing to do with any campaigns against any candidates,” the Russian presidential spokesman said.

He added he expects the U.S. government to use the report to impose additional sanctions against Russia, which he said, “harms painful Russian-American relations."

The DNI report also found that Iran carried out a “multi-pronged covert influence campaign” designed undercut former president Trump’s chances in last year’s election, though without boosting his rival. The report says Iran also attempted to undercut public confidence in the U.S. election process. The assessment also concludes that, despite repeated warnings by several top U.S. officials, China ultimately decided to sit the election out and “did not deploy interference efforts.”

The report goes on to say that Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Venezuela and Cuba all made efforts to influence the 2020 U.S. election, but were on a smaller scale.