The Lincoln Project, a group of Republican strategists working to defeat President Donald Trump in November’s general election, appears to have helped an Iranian disinformation effort go viral.

U.S. intelligence officials concluded Wednesday, Oct. 21, that Iran used the guise of the far-right group Proud Boys to send threatening emails to voters earlier this week. The senders demanded recipients vote for President Trump and switch their party affiliation, warning that the group had all their private information and would come after them if they disobey the directive.

During an FBI press conference on Wednesday, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe confirmed that the Iranian interference in the U.S. election has been designed to incite chaos and damage President Trump.

“We have already seen Iran sending spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump. You may have seen some reporting on this in the last 24 hours or you may have even been one of the recipients of those emails,” he said.

The Lincoln Project has pushed the false claim that the Proud Boys were trying to intimidate Democratic voters, sending out a post that had more than 12,000 retweets on the social media platform. The tweet has now been deleted. 

“The Proud Boys are attempting to scare voters away from the polls. This is punishable by up to a year in jail and a blatant attempt to prevent people from voting. Let’s find them and make them famous,” the Lincoln Project tweet said.

The founders of the Lincoln Project, which has attacked President Trump repeatedly with provocative TV ads, have ties to Russia, according to Fox News.

Co-founder John Weaver registered as a Russian foreign agent for uranium conglomerate TENEX in a six-figure deal last year. Weaver and his fellow co-founders also found themselves in tax troubles. 

The Lincoln Project has spent more than $11 million so far this year on anti-Trump ads. Last month, it launched a new coalition of veterans to oppose the president.

President Trump went off on the group in May after it ran an ad attacking his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, calling its members “losers.”

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