National Security Adviser Warns of China, Russia Interference in 2020 U.S. Election: 'We're Not Going to Put Up With It'

White House National Security Adviser Robert O' Brien said China's efforts to interfere with the 2020 U.S. election are focused on ensuring that President Donald Trump does not win on November 3.

O'Brien confirmed Sunday that U.S. intelligence believes both the Chinese and Russian governments are actively attempting to meddle in the upcoming elections. A July 24 report from American intelligence agencies warned that several foreign actors, including Iran, are trying to access candidates' private communications and voting infrastructure on both the state and federal levels.

Trump's national security adviser cautioned that China is waging perhaps the largest cyber war against the U.S. elections and their primary goal is see Trump lose. O'Brien cited Trump's ongoing sanctions and tit-for-tat trade war with the world's second-largest economy as Beijing's motive.

"We've got our cyber teams in place, DHS is working very hard to track down those malign actors," O'Brien said Sunday on CBS' Face the Nation. "We know it's China, we know it's Russia, we know it's Iran and they're trying to access secretary of state websites and collect data on Americans and engage in influence operations, whether it's on TikTok or Twitter or in other spaces."

"It's not just Russia, the Chinese don't want the president re-elected, he's been tougher on China than any president in history," O'Brien added.

Last Friday, the Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, William Evanina, issued a statement saying the Kremlin is actively working to derail the presidential campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden. A U.S. State Department report described how Russia is using "disinformation and propaganda" techniques in order to "create and amplify false narratives" about American political candidates online.

Evanina told the Associated Press Friday it's not far-fetched Chinese and Russian governments favor different candidates, in this case the former being in favor of Biden and the latter assisting Trump.

"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."

O'Brien confirmed the reports Sunday and said U.S. counterintelligence and Department of Homeland Security agents are pro-actively working to prevent any cyber attacks or interference from foreign actors.

"We're standing up for the first time against the Chinese Communist Party and protecting Americans, protecting our IP [intellectual property], protecting our economy, protecting our [coronavirus] vaccine data. There are a lot of people around the world who aren't happy with America because they don't share our values and that shouldn't be a surprise to anybody."

O'Brien also said during his Face the Nation interview: "China, like Russia, like Iran, have engaged in cyber-attacks and phishing and that sort of thing with respect to our election infrastructure, with respect to websites and that sort of thing. We're aware of it and we're taking steps to counter it. Whether it's China or Russia or Iran, we're not going to put up with it. And there will be severe consequences with any country that attempts to interfere with our free and fair elections."

Newsweek reached out to the State Department, the White House and the Chinese embassy in Washington for additional remarks Sunday afternoon.

China and Russia may have disagreement over their favored U.S. presidential candidate, but last month their respective foreign ministers spoke on a telephone call in which they claimed America has "lost its mind." Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed how they believe the Trump administration is trying to revert relationships back to a "Cold War mentality."

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White House National Security Adviser Robert O' Brien said China's efforts to interfere with the 2020 election are focused on ensuring President Donald Trump is does not win re-election on November 3. ALEX WONG / Staff/Getty Images