On Wednesday, the U.S. government publicly accused Russia and Iran of separately interfering in the 2020 election during a sudden press conference from Justice Department.
Tehran is accused of threatening Democratic voters in four states by sending emails that claimed to be from the Proud Boys. Moscow, authorities said, obtained voter information just as they had during the 2016 election. Authorities did not address what Russia has allegedly done to influence Americans’ votes.
The emails in question include voters’ full names, and the sender claims to have their personal information. They were sent from an email address using the name of the Proud Boys, a self-described militia group that denies involvement. The emails all have similar wording.
According to the Miami Herald, Henry “Enrique” Tarrio Jr., the Miami-based chairman of the Proud Boys and state director of Latinos for Trump, has said he is cooperating with the FBI’s Jacksonville office and denies the group was involved in sending the emails. He and his group have been supportive of President Trump.
“You will vote for Trump on Election Day, or we will come after you,” the emails read, in part. Ratcliffe, who was chosen by President Trump to oversee the nation’s intelligence agencies, said Iran’s activity was designed to hurt Trump.
Over 200 emails have been reported in Florida alone, which appear to target Democratic voters.
Typos and false claims about public voting information in the messages hint at deceptive voter-intimidation campaign days ahead of election day, prompting federal law enforcement to look into the matter.
“We would like to alert the public that we have identified that two foreign actors, Iran and Russia, have taken specific actions to influence public opinion related to our elections,” said the director of national intelligence, John Ratcliffe.
FBI Director Christopher Wray urged Americans to be skeptical of information that undercuts faith in the electoral system. “You should be confident that your vote counts. Early, unverified claims to the contrary should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism,” Wray said Wednesday.
Both Wray and Ratcliff repeatedly assured the American public that they are working tirelessly to ensure that our elections are legitimate and not meddled with by anyone or any country.
This is not the only voted intimidation scheme that we have seen this year. In two small New England towns have gotten menacing letters threatening to burn down their homes.
“Dear neighbors,” the letters read. “You have been identified by our group as being a Trump supporter.”
“Your address has been added into our database as a target for when we attack should Trump not concede the election,” it goes on. “We recommend that you check your home insurance policy and make that it is current and that it has adequate coverage for fire damage.”
According to the New York Post, one targeted Milford resident, who asked to be identified only as Kelly, told WMUR. “This is my home. You’re not supposed to threaten my home. I’m very worried in the sense that this is going on in my town.”