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Democrats warn of ‘concerted foreign interference campaign’ in US elections

Top lawmakers in party demand FBI briefing over what they say is an effort to ‘launder and amplify disinformation’ before November vote

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer left, talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, before a House vote at the Capitol in Washington, June 26, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer left, talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, before a House vote at the Capitol in Washington, June 26, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — Senior US Democrats have demanded an urgent intelligence briefing for lawmakers from the FBI over what they said was a concerted foreign campaign to spread disinformation to interfere in November’s election.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Senate’s senior Democrat Chuck Schumer and two others — all with access to high-level intelligence — told FBI director Chris Wray in a letter released Monday that they were aware of serious and specific threats to the presidential and congressional elections, which take place on November 3.

“We are gravely concerned, in particular, that Congress appears to be the target of a concerted foreign interference campaign, which seeks to launder and amplify disinformation in order to influence congressional activity, public debate, and the presidential election in November,” they said in the letter written last week.

They said that due to the nature of the threats, it was imperative that the FBI provide a classified briefing on the threat to all members of Congress by the end of July, and that Wray set a plan for it by the end of Monday.

They provided no details of the threats in their public letter, but indicated there was a classified attachment to it with more information.

US intelligence officials have said there are signs of efforts to interfere in the election campaign, especially with disinformation over social media, from Iran, China and Russia.

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