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Who Will Win in 2020?

Ahead of the U.S. presidential election in November, numerous public opinion polls show presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump.While polls can reflect how popular a candidate is at a point in time, they don’t always accurately predict the election result.VOA spoke to experts Allan Lichtman and Helmut Norpoth, both of whom have called the outcome of the election based on their own prediction models. Here are their verdicts, which both scholars declared as “final.”Allan LichtmanAllan Lichtman, Professor of History at American University, Washington, DC has correctly predicted all presidential election results since 1984 except for Gore-Bush 2000. (Courtesy photo)Professor of History at American University, Washington, DC.Track record:Lichtman has correctly predicted all presidential election results since 1984. In 2000, he forecast that Al Gore would win the election, and stands by that prediction. Gore won the popular vote but lost the presidency to George W. Bush after the Supreme Court ruled to stop the recount after a long dispute over inconclusive ballots cast in Florida. Lichtman has since adjusted his metrics to call the candidate with the most electoral votes, not the candidate with the most popular votes. Lichtman also predicted Trump’s impeachment.Prediction: Biden wins.Methodology: Keys to the White House  Lichtman uses a series of 13 “keys” in the form of true or false questions. A “true” answer earns a point for the incumbent, while a “false” answer earns a point for the challenger. The keys predict that the candidate with the most points will win the election.Those keys and their answers for the 2020 race, according to Lichtman are:1.    The incumbent’s party gained house seats between midterm elections – FALSE2.    There is no primary contest for the incumbent’s party – TRUE3.    The incumbent is running for reelection – TRUE4.    There is no third-party challenger – TRUE5.    The short-term economy is strong – FALSE6.    The long-term economic growth during the incumbent’s term has been as good as the past two terms – FALSE7.    The incumbent has made major changes to national policy – TRUE8.    There is no social unrest during the incumbent’s term – FALSE9.    The incumbent is untainted by scandal – FALSE10.   The incumbent has no major foreign or military failures abroad – TRUE11.   The incumbent has a major foreign or military success abroad – FALSE12.   The incumbent is charismatic – FALSE13.   The challenger is uncharismatic – TRUETotal: Incumbent 6 points, Challenger 7 points.Caveat:Lichtman said his prediction has changed after the pandemic and the widespread social unrest following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in May.“In just a matter of a few months, Donald Trump and the Republicans went from what looked like a sure win with just four keys against them, to a predicted loss with 7 keys—one more than needed to predict their defeat,” he said.Lichtman said he will not change his prediction again but there are two factors that lie outside the realm of the keys: voter suppression and election meddling.“The Republican base is old white guys like me—that is the most shrinking part of the electorate,” said Lichtman, a registered Democrat. “The GOP cannot manufacture new old white guys but what they can try to do is suppress the vote of the rising Democratic base of minorities and young people. That has me worried.” Another concern for Lichtman is election intervention by foreign actors.“We know the Russians will be back, and maybe back in more force because they’ve learned a lot since 2016,” Lichtman said. “And we know for certain that Donald Trump will again welcome and exploit any Russian intervention that he thinks will help him win.”Helmut NorpothHelmut Norpoth, Professor of Political Science at Stony Brook University, New York has correctly predicted all presidential election results since 1992 except for Gore-Bush 2000. (Courtesy photo)Professor of Political Science at State University of New York at Stony Brook.Track record:Norpoth correctly predicted five of the past six presidential elections since developing his model in 1992. When applied to previous elections, Norpoth’s model correctly predicted the last 27 elections except for the 2000 election in which George W. Bush defeated Al Gore and the 1960 election in which John F. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon.In March of 2016, Norpoth predicted Trump having an 87 percent chance of winning.Methodology: The Primary Model  Norpoth’s Primary Model uses statistical representation of U.S. presidential races with one key metric—the importance of early presidential primaries.   A state-level election, a primary is usually held in February of a presidential election year, where voters choose who would be the political party’s nominee to run in the November presidential election. New Hampshire and South Carolina hold the first primaries for both the Democratic and Republican parties.The model uses data going back to 1912 when presidential primaries were first introduced and concludes that the candidate with the better primary vote tends to win the general election.Joe Biden won 8.4 percent of votes in the New Hampshire primary and 48.4 percent in South Carolina. Trump won the Republican primary in New Hampshire with 85.6 percent votes. There was no primary election for Republicans in South Carolina this year.“South Carolina canceled the Republican primary so I have no number for that. But they canceled it for lack of competition, so it probably would be 100 percent or something close to that,” said Norpoth, a registered Independent. “Either way, in those two primaries Donald Trump gets a vastly higher score than Joe Biden, so that puts him in the driver’s seat as far as the primary part of the model is concerned.”Norpoth’s model also factors in what he calls the “swing of the electoral pendulum,” the theory that control of the White House swings from one party to the other in presidential elections, on average after two to three terms.Prediction:   Trump wins. Norpoth concluded the president has a 91 percent chance of reelection and Biden has a 9 percent chance of winning.Norpoth is not predicting whether Trump will win or lose the popular vote this year but projected that Trump will gain 363 electoral votes while Biden will gain 175 electoral votes.Caveat:  No caveat. Despite most polls showing Biden in the lead, Norpoth declared that his forecast is “unconditional and final.”“We’re living in an age of cancel culture, woke politics, etc.,” he said. “Maybe some people are reluctant to admit even to a pollster that they’re supporting Donald Trump because it doesn’t sound right, it doesn’t sit right with a lot of people.”Norpoth said neither the pandemic nor Black Lives Matter protests had any bearing on his projection and insisted that a sitting president with a superior performance in the primaries compared to the opponent has never lost.“It’s written in stone,” Norpoth said. “It cannot bend, but it may break. In the end, there’s a chance—9 percent—that it’s going to come out wrong so that’s a chance I’m taking.”

Portland Protests Persist as Some Bring Flashes of Violence

More protests are expected in Portland, Oregon, throughout the weekend following violent demonstrations this week that have brought more unrest to the Northwest city.Since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis protests have occurred nightly for 70 days. Friday night, Portland police declared an unlawful assembly at the Penumbra Kelly public safety building, ordering everyone in the area to leave. Authorities had previously warned people not to trespass on the property.  
 Portland Protesters Refocus on Black Lives Matter MessageRecent protests on the streets of Portland, Oregon featured confrontations between demonstrators and federal agents deployed to the city by the Trump administration. Deborah Bloom reports, the departure of federal forces has de-escalated tensions and allowed protesters to refocus their message on demanding racial justice in America.
Produced by: Deborah BloomProtesters remained for several hours before officers began to rush the crowd away from the building using crowd control munitions early Saturday. Several people were arrested, police said.
The crowd was dispersed because items including rocks, frozen or hard-boiled eggs and commercial-grade fireworks had been thrown or launched toward officers, police said in a statement. Oregon State Police worked with Portland officers to clear the protesters.
Some demonstrators also filled pool noodles with nails and placed them in the road, causing extensive damage to a patrol vehicle, police stated.
Democratic Mayor Ted Wheeler said this week the violent protesters are also serving as political “props” for President Donald Trump in a divisive election season where the president is hammering on a law-and-order message. Trump has tried to portray the protesters as “sick and dangerous anarchists” running wild in the city’s streets.
 Demonstrators gathered at Floyd Light City Park, Aug. 6, 2020 in Portland, Ore.The chaos that started Thursday night and lasted into Friday morning in a residential neighborhood about 6 miles (10 kilometers) from downtown. The demonstrations this week had been noticeably smaller than the crowds of thousands who turned out nightly for about two weeks in July to protest the presence of U.S. agents sent by the Trump administration to protect a federal courthouse that had become a target of nightly violence.
This week’s clashes have, however, ramped up tensions after an agreement last week between state and federal officials seemed to offer a brief reprieve.  
The deal brokered by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown called for agents from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to pull back from their defense of the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse starting July 30.
Early Friday, as peaceful demonstrations proceeded elsewhere in the city, a group of people gathered at a park in eastern Portland and marched to the local police precinct, where authorities say they spray-painted the building, popped the tires of police cars, splashed paint on the walls, vandalized security cameras and set a fire in a barrel outside the building. One officer was severely injured by a rock, police said, but no additional details were provided.
 Portland Police Declare Unlawful Assembly during ProtestThe Portland Police Bureau declares an unlawful assembly Saturday night when people gathered outside a police precinct in Oregon’s largest city and threw bottles towards officers, police sayTear gas was used by police on protesters Wednesday for the first time since the U.S. agents pulled back their presence in the city, but officers did not use it Thursday despite declaring the demonstration an unlawful assembly.
Portland police have arrested more than 400 people at protests since late May. U.S. agents arrested at least an additional 94 people during protests at the federal courthouse in July.

Virus Resistant: World’s Longest Yard Sale Still Lines US Roads

For decades, thousands of vendors have fanned out along roadsides from Alabama to Michigan each summer to haggle over the prices of old Coca-Cola bottles, clothes, toys, knives and more at The World’s Longest Yard Sale.And though the coronavirus pandemic has canceled events around the globe, the six-state yard sale is happening this weekend for the 34th straight year.Beginning Thursday and ending Sunday, thousands of people will mingle, chat and bargain across a 1,110 kilometer stretch of Middle America. Organizers say they might not get the usual crowd, estimated at 200,000 people, but they could.“We feel like there’s a lot of pent-up demand,” said Hugh Stump III, executive director of tourism in Gadsden, at the southernmost end of the sale.The crowd was predominantly older on the first day in Gadsden, and many people wore face masks and visibly tried to keep away from others. COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, can be particularly dangerous for the elderly and people with other health problems.But many others didn’t wear facial coverings, and it wasn’t uncommon to see people standing shoulder to shoulder as they looked through racks of clothes or tables full of shoes set up outside.Promoters considered canceling the event because of the pandemic, which has killed more than 160,000 Americans and infected nearly 5 million more, but they decided to go ahead with precautions including reminders about masks, social distancing and handwashing.“The fact that it’s a mostly outdoor event was a large determining factor in going forward. There’s plenty of space for social distancing and the other guidelines can be followed as well. In addition, because this event is critical to many people’s livelihood it’s very important,” sale spokesperson Josh Randall said in an email.Vendors set up days early at Cumberland Mountain General Store in Clarkrange, Tennessee, where as many as 100 booths will be open though the weekend.A crowd looks through items at the World’s Longest Yard Sale, which stretches from Alabama to Michigan, at its southernmost point in Gadsden, Ala., on Aug. 6, 2020.“It’s usually packed here,” store clerk June Walker said.Other places opted out this year because of the virus. The Darke County Steam Threshers Association in Ansonia, Ohio, decided against allowing vendors on its 12 hectares of land, President Jo Stuck said.“To keep up with all the health mandates … we just do not have the volunteers to do it this year,” she said. “The two of us who can be there all the time have compromised immune systems, and that puts our health at risk plus the health of our visitors and our vendors.”The loss of rental income will hurt the group, which stages events featuring old farm machines, but members didn’t want to be put in the position of dealing with people who willfully defy Ohio’s mandatory mask rule, Stuck said.“There are a lot of people around here that have an issue with it and don’t want to follow it,” she said. “It’s a big problem.”The yard sale began in 1987 as a way to lure visitors off interstate highways to a small town in Tennessee. No one owns the event, Randall said, but it’s promoted on a website that includes tips for vendors, maps and, for 2020, pandemic health guidelines.Also known as the 127 Yard Sale, the event follows U.S. 127 from near Addison, Michigan, to Chattanooga, Tennessee, through Ohio and Kentucky. From there, it meanders through northwest Georgia to Noccalula Falls, a 100-hectare public park in Gadsden.Patricia Gurley piled into a car with two friends and drove about 275 kilometers to the Gadsden end of the sale from her home in Corinth, Mississippi. With a yellow mask pulled down under her chin, she was excited about visiting the sale for the first time and wasn’t concerned about the pandemic.“I don’t worry about that. If you’re gonna get it, you’re gonna get it,” she said.A crowd looks through items at the World’s Longest Yard Sale, which stretches from Alabama to Michigan, at its southernmost point in Gadsden, Ala., on Aug. 6, 2020.Nicole Gerle came even farther: She drove 3,340 kilometers from her home in San Diego and planned to travel the route at least to Ohio, maybe even all the way to Michigan.Wearing a mask, Gerle said she wasn’t fretting over the coronavirus: “If other people aren’t going to be smart, I’m going to be smart on my side.” But Gerle was worried about getting good deals on items including a metal basket she planned to take home, repurpose into other goods and sell.“The purchasing is livelihood for me and the selling is livelihood for them,” she said, pointing toward sales tables. “People make their income; they count on this.”Vendor Ann Sullins has set up shop at the past five sales and was thankful this year’s wasn’t called off. But realistically, she said, the yard sale is just too big to cancel.“People are going to do just like they do,” said Sullins, who wasn’t wearing a mask but tried to keep her distance from others and had hand sanitizer. “When something like this comes up, they’re going to go out and do it just because it gives them a break from home.” 

Biden Risks Alienating Young Black Voters After Race Remarks

Joe Biden’s controversial remarks about race this week risk alienating young Black voters who despise President Donald Trump but are not inspired by his Democratic rival.When pressed by Errol Barnett of CBS News on whether he’d taken a cognitive test, Biden responded that the question was akin to asking the Black reporter if he would take a drug test to see if “you’re taking cocaine or not? … Are you a junkie?”In a later interview with National Public Radio’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Biden seemed to draw distinctions between Black and Hispanic populations in the U.S. “Unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things,” he told the Latina reporter.He later walked back the comment.Black voters as a whole delivered the Democratic nomination to Biden, powering his commanding win in the South Carolina primary, which rescued his floundering campaign. But that success was heavily dependent on older Black voters. In a general election where Democrats say no vote can be taken for granted, young Black activists and elected officials say this week’s missteps could make it harder to get their vote.“Trump is terrible, and he’s a racist, and we have to get racists out of the White House. But then Biden keeps saying racist things,” said Mariah Parker, a 28-year-old county commissioner in Athens, Georgia. “It doesn’t make me feel much better that we actually will have an improvement for the Black community with one president over the other.”Most Black voters view Trump as someone who exacerbates racial tensions and are unlikely to support his campaign in large numbers. But those who sit out the presidential election could sway the outcome in closely contested states.AP VoteCast data illustrates the generational divide Biden is confronting.Across 17 states where AP VoteCast surveyed Democratic voters during the primary, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders Sanders won 60 percent of voters under 30 overall, to Biden’s 19 percent. And while Biden was strongly supported by African American voters overall, Black voters under age 30 were slightly more likely to support Sanders than Biden, 44 percent to 38 percent.Sorry, but your browser cannot support embedded video of this type, you can
download this video to view it offline.Download File360p | 9 MB480p | 13 MB540p | 17 MB720p | 34 MB1080p | 68 MBOriginal | 80 MB Embed” />Copy Download AudioA Washington Post-Ipsos poll conducted in June suggested that while Biden had majority support among Black voters aged 18-39, there was skepticism about Biden himself. Among Black Americans under age 40 that were polled, 32 percent said they didn’t feel he was sympathetic to the problems of Black people. And 24 percent of respondents under 40 said they felt Biden is “biased” against Black people, in contrast to much lower percentages for middle-aged and senior respondents.Part of the challenge for Biden, said activist Kristin Fulwylie Thomas, is the perception among young Black voters that he’s too moderate to deliver on issues that are important to them. The 31-year-old managing director of Equal Ground, an Orlando-based group working to boost turnout among Black voters across Florida, said she hears this concern from people in her community and voters across the state.“What I’m seeing and what I’m hearing among young Black voters is that Biden was not their first choice, so folks are not excited to vote for him this November,” she said.Every gaffe makes it harder for Biden to generate that excitement.Michigan State Rep. Jewell Jones, who at 21 was the youngest elected official ever in Michigan, said that he’s seen a number of Biden’s comments on Black voters, along with his past support for the 1994 Crime Bill that contributed to mass incarceration of Black Americans, pop up on social media and raise questions among his peers.“Young people are really holding people accountable these days,” he said. “Anything that comes up that they think is questionable, they’ll challenge.”Jones, who is now 25, said the issue with young Black voters is “not necessarily skepticism about whether or not he’s able to do the job.”“Young people today want to know, are politicians’ hearts in the right place?” he said.The Biden campaign says they’re working hard to reach out to young Black voters, and point to events hosted by their young voter outreach coalition, League 46, as well as outreach geared specifically towards Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Black sororities, among an array of other events broadly geared toward the Black community nationwide.Birmingham, Alabama, Mayor Randall Woodfin, who supports Biden, swept aside Biden’s comments this week. He noted that Biden, unlike Trump, later clarified his comments.“I truly believe that he wants to do the right thing moving forward,” he said.Sorry, but your browser cannot support embedded video of this type, you can
download this video to view it offline.Download File360p | 11 MB480p | 15 MB540p | 19 MB720p | 37 MB1080p | 73 MBOriginal | 93 MB Embed” />Copy Download AudioBiden has put out an array of proposals focused on Black economic mobility, which include pledges to steer federal money and tax credits to small business and economic development programs for minority-owned firms and disadvantaged neighborhoods. Biden also said he’d encourage home ownership to help close wealth gaps among minority communities, among other policies.On criminal justice reform, he’s called for a federal ban on police chokeholds, national standards for police use of force, mandatory data collection from local law enforcement, a new federal police oversight commission. He’s also embraced some progressive proposals that may appeal to younger voters, like forgiving some student loan debt and offering some free college.But on a number of key issues being pushed by some young Black activists — like defunding or dismantling police forces, Medicare for All, and legalizing marijuana — Biden has thus far declined to embrace the most progressive policies.As Jones put it: “The younger generation are not just asking for reform or just asking for change. They want a revolution.”But some of the enthusiasm gap has to do with a generational split on voting within the Black community that has little to do with Biden, said Leah Daughtry, a Black operative who has twice served as CEO of the Democratic National Convention.“For my generation and older, voting was this thing that was this great privilege because we didn’t always have it,” she said, noting that at 55, she was part of the first generation of Black women to get the right to vote. For younger Black Americans, “they don’t have the lived experience of not being able to.”Still, Daughtry said that she was willing to give Biden “a pass” on his comments after listening to the full interview, but young voters might not be so forgiving.“It’s absolutely a problem, and unfortunately the campaign appears to be having to spend time clarifying and cleaning them up,” she said. “For young people — when they see the one quote it would appear to confirm to them or solidify questions in their mind about the vice president’s intent and goals. And the best we can hope for is they will do further research. At worst you have some who will say it adds to their reasons for disillusionment.”  

Trump Threatens to Take Executive Action on Economic Relief Package

U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday he is ready to take executive action after congressional lawmakers failed again to reach agreement on a relief package for the tens of millions of Americans who have lost their jobs following the COVID-19 pandemic.Trump told a news conference that executive orders are being prepared to enhance unemployment benefits until the end of the year, defer student loan payments and forgive interest on the loans, and extend a moratorium on evictions. He said an executive order is also being prepared to defer payroll taxes until the end of the year.It was not immediately clear if he has the legal authority to take the executive actions he has proposed. It was also not immediately clear how the actions, if implemented, would work. For example, if payroll taxes are deferred, it is not clear whether workers would then have to pay them retroactively at some point and whether that payment would be one large payment or stretched out over time.Republican lawmakers are not interested in an economic relief package that costs more than $1 trillion. The bottom line for the Democrats is $2 trillion. There seems to be no room for negotiating away from those numbers for the politicians. Reports say the lawmakers have not scheduled any additional meetings.Millions of Americans recently saw the $600 enhancement to their weekly unemployment benefits come to an end. Social service agencies have warned that the lack of the additional funds for the unemployed could result in food insecurity and evictions for millions.

She Lost Her Father to COVID-19, Then She and Her Family Got the Virus

Meet Cynthia Reyes whose family has been living a nightmare. Reyes recently lost her father to COVID-19. With no time to mourn, the 35-year old woman who has diabetes, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis also got the virus, along with family members. Reyes lives in California’s Imperial County, a farming region along the Mexican border with one of the state’s highest coronavirus infection rates. VOA’s Mariama Diallo has this report.

Trump Administration Revamps Federal Royalty Rules for Coal, Oil and Gas

The Interior Department on Friday announced a new proposal to ease a regulation on royalties for sales of coal, oil and gas extracted from federal and tribal land after a court struck down its initial repeal of the Obama-era rule last year.The changes to the Office of Natural Resources Revenue’s (ONRR) regulations lift certain royalties for oil, gas and coal extracted from federal lands and restore pre-2016 policies to align with the Trump administration’s focus of easing the “burden the development” of domestic energy.The move comes as the November presidential election looms and the Trump administration aims to complete several more deregulatory actions on the spring Unifed Agenda, a list of its policy priorities.“This proposal provides regulatory certainty and clarity to States, Tribes and stakeholders, removing unnecessary and burdensome regulations for domestic energy production,” said Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.In the proposal, companies would not pay royalties for any natural gas that has been flared during oil production.It also removes the 2016 provision meant to close a loophole that enabled coal companies to settle royalty payments on exports to Asia at much lower domestic prices.Last April, a federal court ruled in favor of California and New Mexico who sued the Interior Department for repealing the 2016 Obama rule for not offering a “reasoned justification” for doing so under the federal Administrative Procedures Act.American Petroleum Institute Vice President of Upstream Policy Lem Smith said the new proposal gives “clarity and certainty for energy production on federal lands.” The proposal incorporates some recommendations made by API during the public comment period.Conservation groups said the new proposal hurts taxpayers.“This is yet another attempt by the Trump administration to reopen loopholes that would allow oil and gas companies to skirt royalty payments owed to taxpayers,” said Aaron Weiss of the Center for Western Priorities.  

Report: Pompeo Warns Russia Against Taliban Bounties

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned Russia’s foreign minister about alleged bounty payments to Taliban militants for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan, according to The New York Times.The Times reported Friday that Pompeo made the warning to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during a July 13 phone call, citing unidentified U.S. officials.It said Pompeo’s warning was the first known rebuke from a senior U.S. official to Russia over the alleged bounties program.Pompeo has previous declined to say whether he specifically raised the bounty allegations with Russia. However, he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month that he has “raised all of the issues that put any Americans at risk” each time he has spoken to Lavrov.Trump has called the reports of Russian bounties on U.S. troops “another Russian hoax” despite concerns about them from the intelligence community.Trump told reporters in Florida last month, “It was never brought to my attention and it perhaps wasn’t brought because they didn’t consider it to be real. And if it is brought to my attention, I’ll do something about it,” he said.During an interview with “Axios on HBO,” Trump said he had not raised the bounty allegations in a recent phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin.“That was a phone call to discuss other things, and, frankly, that’s an issue that many people said was fake news,” Trump said.White House officials have said that Trump was not briefed on the suspected bounties because the assessment was not conclusive. However, several media outlets, including the Times, have reported that the issue was included in one of the president’s written daily briefings in February. Trump has said he was never personally told about the issue.Russia has denied that it paid bounties to Taliban militants for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

School Teachers in US Protest Going Back to Classrooms

In early August, thousands of parents, educators, students, and community members took to the streets in over 25 U.S. states to call for safe and equitable schools.  The protests, organized as a National Day of Resistance, were called to raise concerns that with the coronavirus still spreading reopening schools for in-person learning is dangerous.  The issue has become political, with pressure growing from the White House and many state governors to reopen the classrooms.  Nina Vishneva has this report narrated by Anna Rice on the demonstrations in New York City. Camera:  Max Avloshenko, Alex Barash, Olga Terekhin

US Sees Election Threats From China, Russia and Iran

The director of US intelligence on Friday raised concerns about interference in the 2020 election by China, Russia and Iran.U.S. intelligence has assessed that China is hoping President Donald Trump does not win reelection, Russia is working to denigrate Democrat Joe Biden and Iran is seeking to undermine democratic institutions, said Bill Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence Security Center.In a statement, Evanina provided the U.S. intelligence agencies’ most recent assessment of election threats to the November presidential election.“Many foreign actors have a preference for who wins the election, which they express through a range of overt and private statements; covert influence efforts are rarer,” Evanina said. “We are primarily concerned about the ongoing and potential activity by China, Russia, and Iran.”China views Trump as “unpredictable” and does not want to see him win reelection, Evanina said. China has been expanding its influence efforts ahead of the November election in an effort to shape U.S policy and pressure political figures it sees as against Beijing, he said.“Although China will continue to weigh the risks and benefits of aggressive action, its public rhetoric over the past few months has grown increasingly critical of the current administration’s COVID-19 response, closure of China’s Houston consulate and actions on other issues,” he wrote.On Russia, U.S. intelligence officials assess that Russia is working to “denigrate” Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia “establishment” among his supporters, Evanina said. He said that would track Moscow’s criticism of Biden when he was vice president for his role in Ukraine policies and support of opposition to President Vladimir Putin inside Russia.On Iran, the assessment said Tehran seeks to undermine U.S. democratic institutions as well as Trump and divide America before the election.“Iran’s efforts along these lines probably will focus on on-line influence, such as spreading disinformation on social media and recirculating anti-U.S. content,” Evanina wrote. “Tehran’s motivation to conduct such activities is, in part, driven by a perception that President Trump’s re-election would result in a continuation of U.S. pressure on Iran in an effort to foment regime change.”