Russia attempted to influence 2020 election in Trump's favor, intelligence report says

But foreign actors didn't interfere with the voting process or attack election systems.

Corinne Reichert Senior Writer
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
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The report on foreign interference in the 2020 US presidential election is out, with the National Intelligence Council finding there's no evidence a foreign actor attempted to alter the voting process, including voter registration, casting ballots, counting votes and reporting results. However, the report found that Iran and Russia spread false claims about compromises of voting systems.

Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized "influence operations aimed at denigrating President Biden's candidacy" and supporting former President Donald Trump, as well as undermining confidence in the election result, the report said. However, it said that "unlike in 2016, we did not see persistent Russian cyber efforts to gain access to election infrastructure." In 2016, election systems were targeted in all 50 states by Russia, a previous report by the Senate Intelligence Committee found.

Read more: US election security groups call 2020 election 'most secure in American history'

China didn't interfere, but it looked into and didn't deploy influence efforts to change the outcome of the election, the report said. Iran attempted to influence the election by undercutting Trump's prospects of being reelected, the report said. Additional foreign actors, including Cuba, Venezuela and Lebanese Hezbollah also "took some steps to attempt to influence the election," the report said.

"The departments found no evidence that any foreign government-affiliated actor manipulated election results or otherwise compromised the integrity of the 2020 federal elections," the Justice Department said Tuesday.

The report comes from the National Intelligence Council, which includes the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, the Department of State, the Treasury and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. It was declassified Tuesday by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines. 

You can read the whole report here.

The Biden administration is expected to announce sanctions in response to the election interference report next week, CNN reported, including against Russia and Iran.