11:14 GMT27 September 2020
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    The unexpected victory of Donald Trump in the last presidential election stunned Democrats, with many claiming that the businessman-turned-politician had colluded with the Kremlin to influence the vote. Trump denied the allegations and accused the Democrats of staging a witch hunt.

    Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice has claimed that President Donald Trump has given his "blessing" to Russian interference in the upcoming presidential election in the United States. Rice, who many thought might be chosen by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden as his running mate and who is considered to be one of the leading US experts on foreign policy, told MSNBC that Moscow plans to influence the upcoming vote and recalled that Trump said he would accept help from foreign countries in the election.

    "The Russians ... have stepped up their efforts to interfere in our elections with, it seems, the blessing of Donald Trump. We’ve never, at least in our lifetimes, had a president of the United States who has told us that he may not abide by the results of the election. [He] has told us that he may seek to delay the election itself. [He] has told us that he’s going to cast doubt on the legitimacy of mail-in ballots and go out of his way to make it as hard as possible for Americans to exercise their constitutional right to vote. It’s unbelievable", Rice told MSNBC.

    The former national security adviser said that voting by mail is the safest way to hold the election during the coronavirus pandemic and called on Americans to produce an "overwhelming" result.

    “The more resounding the outcome, the harder it is for Donald Trump to manipulate and obscure a potential loss. And we just have to be super, super vigilant to all of these different scenarios. I believe we have bipartisan interest in elections being fair and transparent. It affects candidates up and down the ballot — not just at the presidential level”, Susan Rice said.

    Rice’s statement about the president's willingness to accept help from foreign countries refers to a statement Trump made in 2019, when he said he would "want to hear" dirt on his opponents if a foreign government offered him such information. "I think you might want to listen", Trump said back then in an interview with ABC news. He disputed the idea that if a foreign government provides information on his opponents that this would amount to election interference.

    The president recently warned about potential fraud in the upcoming election. Due to the drastic situation with the coronavirus outbreak in the United States – the country has the highest number of cases (5.3 million) and continues to record tens of thousands of new infections every day – many Americans will vote by mail in the presidential election. Democrats have strongly supported this practice. However, Trump has said that this will result in fraud, as "millions of mail-in ballots will be printed by foreign countries and others". Experts have expressed doubt that this is possible. Trump made the remark following reports that his rival Democrat Joe Biden is ahead of him with a significant advantage in the polls.

    Tags:
    Joe Biden, Susan Rice, United States, 2020 Presidential Election, Donald Trump
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