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Threat Assessment Report: Kremlin and Other Enemies Will Target 2020 Election

America’s enemies will “almost certainly” use online influence operations to try to weaken its institutions, undermine its alliances, and cause unrest during the 2020 elections, the Director of National Intelligence has said. In its 2019 threat assessment, released Tuesday morning, the DNI said that the country's enemies are “probably already are looking to the 2020 U.S. elections as an opportunity to advance their interests.” Specifically focusing on Russia, the report says that the Kremlin's disinformation campaigns online will try to “aggravate social and racial tensions, undermine trust in authorities, and criticize perceived anti-Russia politicians.” The report also warns that Russia and China are “more aligned than at any point since the mid-1950s” and that their relationship is likely to strengthen in 2019, jeopardizing western interests in the Middle East and East Asia. China is reported to be “a persistent cyber espionage threat and a growing attack threat to our core military and critical infrastructure systems,” while Russia is said to be a “cyber espionage, influence, and attack threat to the United States and our allies.”

In his opening statement on the report to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats emphasized that China “is the most active strategic competitor responsible for cyber espionage against the US Government, corporations, and allies.” CNN’s Jim Sciutto also notes that the assessment contradicts Trump’s claim that North Korea will denuclearize, noting that “the IC continues to assess that it is unlikely to give up all of its WMD stockpiles, delivery systems, and production capabilities.” It also challenges Trump’s assessment that ISIS has been defeated in Syria: “ISIS still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria,” the report notes, adding that “The group will exploit any reduction in CT pressure to strengthen its clandestine presence and accelerate rebuilding key capabilities.”