Pelosi: Iran a ‘Bad Actor’ but Russia Still Bigger Threat to US Elections

October 22, 2020 Updated: October 22, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says that despite the intelligence community’s recent disclosure about Iran’s attempt to interfere with the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, Russia is the real threat undermining the election in November.

“Russia is the villain here from what we have seen in the public domain,” Pelosi told reporters at a press conference Thursday. “Iran is a bad actor but in no way equivalent.”

Pelosi said she would attend a classified briefing from the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) after her press conference. “I’ll be very eager to hear what they have to say in a classified briefing because everything we have seen in the public domain does not justify the statements that we heard yesterday.”

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, who appeared with FBI Director Christopher Wray at a Wednesday press briefing, said that Iran had sent false information to voters, including spoof emails trying to undermine Trump’s campaign.

“We have already seen Iran sending spoof emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President [Donald] Trump,” Ratcliffe said. “You may have seen some reporting on this in the last 24 hours, or you may have even been one of the recipients of those emails.”

Pelosi continued, “We don’t want any foreign interference in our elections from anyone. We think intimidation in the election is wrong, foreign, or domestic. So, to give equivalence to one country and another, when we know that Russia has, for a long time, 24/7, in the past election and this one, been there to undermine our election, they try to make an equivalence with China.”

She said she knows the threat the Chinese regime poses to the day-to-day workings of America but was adamant that Russia is a greater threat to election security.

“I take second place to no one in this Congress in my criticisms of China, whether it’s human rights, whether it’s trade violations, whether it’s the proliferation of weapons technology that is dangerous and sending it to rogue nations,” she said. “But the fact—I know what they’re doing. I’ve tracked them every day for 30 years or a little bit more.”

“But in the public domain, you can see that what they are doing is their usual, trying to infiltrate the thinking of people in our country to be sympathetic to China, a lot less to do with the elections,” Pelosi added.

Top Democrats have continually said that Russia is the greatest threat to the election despite a lack of new evidence to suggest Russia has done any significant interfering.

However, back in August, William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, warned of ongoing election interference efforts by China, Russia, and Iran. He said that China is mainly targeting Trump and does not want him to win reelection, Russia is working to undermine Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign, and Iran seeks to undermine both Trump and U.S. institutions.

Still, Democrats insist that Russia is helping president Trump win by undermining Biden’s campaign.

“All year, the Trump administration has been desperately trying to bury information about Russian interference and overhype efforts by Iran and China,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said in a statement. “The truth is simple—only Russia has both the capability and intent to significantly disrupt our election.”

Meanwhile, Ratcliffe told Fox News on Monday that there is no intelligence to suggest Biden email scandal was a Russian disinformation campaign, as some have claimed.

“It’s funny that some of the people who complain the most about intelligence being politicized are the ones politicizing the intelligence,” Ratcliffe said.

The controversy surrounding Joe and Hunter Biden involves emails found on a copy of a hard drive that was given to the New York Post by Trump’s personal lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

The NY Post last week reported its findings from the hard drive allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden including an email suggesting he introduced his father, who was the vice president at the time, to a top executive at Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company on whose board the younger Biden held a position and was paid millions for.