US officials said there has been no intelligence to suggest foreign countries are working to undermine postal voting and no signs of any coordinated effort to commit widespread fraud despite numerous claims made by Donald Trump.
The officials at multiple federal agencies stopped short of directly contradicting Mr Trump but their comments made it clear they had not seen evidence to support the president’s statements that voter fraud will be rampant in the upcoming election.
Mr Trump tweeted on July 30 that mail-in voting was proving to be a “catastrophic disaster” and added: “The Dems talk of foreign influence in voting, but they know that Mail-In Voting is an easy way for foreign countries to enter the race. Even beyond that, there’s no accurate count!”
But a senior official with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, asked on a conference call with reporters about the threat of foreign countries manufacturing their own ballots or amplifying disinformation about the integrity of the vote-by-mail process, said there was no information or intelligence that any adversary was “engaged in any kind of activity to undermine any part of the mail-in vote”.
A senior FBI official said officials had not seen to date a coordinated, nationwide effort to corrupt mail-in voting.
We cannot escape the reality that the opportunities for malign foreign influence in our elections are far-flung, so it remains a challenge for Americans as voters.Jeffrey Rosen
The official also said, given the diffuse and varied election systems across the country, it would be “extraordinarily difficult” to tamper with results in a measurable way.
But the official said the FBI remained committed to investigating fraud that emerges.
Three of the main agencies tasked with countering threats to America’s voting system arranged the briefing at a critical time in the electoral process, with little over two months left before election day and mail-in voting starting in weeks.
Mr Trump has made unsubstantiated claims that the election will be marred by fraud and is refusing to commit to accepting the results.
Democrats say the agencies have not been forthcoming with the public about possible threats, and the risk of foreign interference was underscored by a recent Senate report that provided new details of Russian meddling in 2016.
The officials who spoke did not mention Mr Trump in answering questions about threats to the vote-by-mail process, but their answers to reporters’ questions about the topic served at least indirectly to counter some of his more incendiary claims about possible fraud.
In a separate speech on Wednesday, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen confirmed that the US has “yet to see any activity intended to prevent voting or to change votes” but is encountering, as in 2016, foreign efforts to influence American public opinion and undermine confidence in the elections.
“We cannot escape the reality that the opportunities for malign foreign influence in our elections are far-flung, so it remains a challenge for Americans as voters,” Mr Rosen said.