The Kremlin on Friday dismissed a reported claim that Russia has been attempting to interfere in the U.S. electoral process to get President Donald Trump re-elected this year.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman described the claim as paranoid, according to comments carried by state news agency TASS.
It was “another in a series of paranoid reports. We regret to say that their number will grow as the election approaches. They certainly have nothing to do with the truth.”
U.S. media reported on Thursday that U.S. intelligence officials had briefed lawmakers on Russian attempts to boost Trump’s 2020 re-election bid.
The briefing included apparently new information that Moscow aimed to interfere with the Democratic primaries as well as the general election, according to the New York Times newspaper.
Mr Trump expressed anger that Democrats were included in the briefing, claiming that the intelligence will be used by his rivals to attack him, according to multiple media reports, citing unnamed sources.
On Friday, Mr Trump took to Twitter to accuse Democrats of starting a disinformation campaign.
“Another misinformation campaign is being launched by Democrats in Congress saying that Russia prefers me to any of the Do Nothing Democrat candidates who still have been unable to, after two weeks, count their votes in Iowa. Hoax number 7!,” Mr Trump wrote.
Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren accused the president of “shredding the rule of law – and the integrity of our democracy.”
“Russia is interfering in our election again to help elect Trump.
“After members of Congress were briefed about this threat, Trump fired the acting Director of National Intelligence,” Warren tweeted.
The president announced this week that he was replacing director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire with U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, a fierce Trump loyalist.
The U.S. intelligence community has already concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to boost Mr Trump, which led to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Mr Trump has slammed the investigation as a “witch hunt.”
While Mr Trump has taken a softer rhetorical line on Russia versus his predecessors, he has sanctioned Moscow over its actions in Ukraine and expelled Russian officials in 2018.