(PresidentialInsider.com)- Reading comprehension has never been Joe’s strong suit.
In his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Joe Biden repeated the claim that Russia interfered in recent US elections.
Speaking April 28, Biden said, “With regard to Russia, I made very clear to President Putin that while we don’t seek escalation, their actions have consequences. I responded in a direct and proportionate way to Russia’s interference in our elections and cyber— attacks on our government and businesses – and they did both of those things and I did respond.”
But according to Biden’s own intelligence community, that’s not what happened.
In an Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) published in March, officials made clear that while Russia had attempted to “influence” the election, there was no evidence that they “interfered,” which the assessment defines specifically as “a subset of election influence activities targeted at the technical aspects of the election, including voter registration, casting and counting ballots, or reporting results.”
By contrast, the ICA defines “influence” as “overt and covert efforts by foreign governments or actors acting as agents of, or on behalf of, foreign governments intended to affect directly or indirectly a US election—including candidates, political parties, voters or their preferences, or political processes.”
So, while Russia did attempt to influence voters in 2020, it made no effort to interfere—a distinction the intelligence community makes, but President Biden has not.
The specific language in the intelligence assessment is nothing new, and neither are the findings. In an ICA published in the wake of the 2016 election, the intelligence community found similar attempts at influencing voters, but judged that interference efforts were unsuccessful.
But that hasn’t stopped prominent Democrats and Biden administration officials from repeating the “interference” claim.
Just last month, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen described her department’s efforts to, “target Russian leaders, officials, intelligence services, and their proxies that attempt to interfere in the U.S. electoral process or subvert U.S. democracy.”
Still, this should come as no surprise to most observers. After four years of “Russian election interference” coverage in the mainstream media, fully 48% of Americans believe President Trump or his campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.
The Biden administration and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have yet to address this discrepancy in messaging. But given the track record of the last four years, it’s not likely coming soon.