“These mail-in ballots are a disgrace, and they know it,” he scoffed.
But Trump isn’t alone in trying to undermine faith in absentee ballots. U.S. officials say a Russian disinformation campaign is pushing the same disruptive message to Americans four years after the Kremlin sought to help Trump win the White House.
A Homeland Security intelligence bulletin issued hours before Trump spoke in Latrobe, Pa., warned that a Moscow-backed operation involving state media and proxy websites had “denigrated vote-by-mail processes, alleging they lack transparency and procedural oversight, creating vast opportunities for voter fraud.”
U.S. officials say Russia’s operation includes false allegations that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s health is failing and that he acted improperly in Ukraine when he served as vice president. Trump has made the same allegations.
The overlap in messaging between Trump’s rhetoric and Russian disinformation in some ways echoes the symbiotic relationship between the president’s first White House bid and Russian intelligence services in the 2016 election. …
Federal law bars foreign interference in a U.S. election. Paul S. Ryan, vice president at Common Cause, an advocacy group that seeks stricter enforcement of campaign finance laws, compared Trump’s treatment of the Russians to how a campaign would try to evade rules against coordinating with a super PAC.
“The candidate, simply in a public forum, announces what would be helpful in a campaign,” Ryan said. “And then they hear it, and they act on it.”
He added, “I think it’s outrageous that a candidate for public office in the United States would even contemplate, let alone act on, encouraging foreign interference in our elections.”