The Russians Are Coming, Again

The Russian interference narrative returns for 2024.

Written by Hudson Crozier

What’s happening: National security officials say foreign governments likely will try to influence the next U.S. presidential election, especially through the Internet.

  • The narrative: Western leaders are most vocal about the threat of Russia and how the election may impact the war in Ukraine. Many suggest a Republican victory would be the best outcome for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s interests.

  • The whole picture: The important geopolitical situations America faces — from the Middle East to Ukraine to Taiwan — mean many foreign enemies have something to gain or to lose based on who takes the White House. There is potential for foreign operations helping both parties.

What’s next? President Joe Biden administration now claims it must target online speech ahead of the election due to foreign disinformation threats. For now, all that could stop team Biden is a ruling from the Supreme Court, which will decide whether such efforts are constitutional.

Why it matters: Federal agencies used false claims of Russian influence as part of efforts to undermine former President Donald Trump. Ironically, these tactics likely helped sway the last presidential election.

  • The Russiagate lie: An FBI probe into Trump — sparked by Hillary Clinton’s campaign — convinced much of America that Trump won the presidency with help from Russia despite turning up no evidence.

  • Censorship: Federal agents convinced tech platforms to censor reporting on Biden family scandals before the 2020 election. They did this by falsely hinting it was Russian disinformation while the FBI knew it was real.

  • Influence operation: The intelligence community promoted the Russian disinformation lie to help Biden in a debate with Trump, as a former CIA leader admitted.