Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, who has been the subject of scrutiny in recent days, said at an FBI press conference late Wednesday that Iran and Russia are interfering in the upcoming presidential election, having obtained U.S. voter registration information.

"This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy," Ratcliffe said.

He noted that Iranians have waged an intimidation and misinformation campaign through emails posing as the right-wing group the Proud Boys in an effort to damage President Trump.

Ratcliffe did not provide specifics on how the emails would hurt Trump's campaign. In the first debate between Trump and Joe Biden, Trump referenced the Proud Boys, who have been classified by the FBI as an extremist group. 

"We have already seen Iran sending spoof emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump," Ratcliffe added. "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."

Acting Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., released a joint statement about election threats from Russia and Iran.

“Our adversaries abroad seek to sow chaos and undermine voters’ belief in our democratic institutions, including the election systems and infrastructure that we rely on to record and properly report expressions of the voters’ will. They may seek to target those systems, or simply leave the impression that they have altered or manipulated those systems, in order to undermine their credibility and our confidence in them," Rubio and Warner said. 

"As we enter the last weeks before the election, we urge every American – including members of the media – to be cautious about believing or spreading unverified, sensational claims related to votes and voting. State and local election officials are in regular contact with federal law enforcement and cybersecurity professionals, and they are all working around the clock to ensure that Election 2020 is safe, secure, and free from outside interference,” the statement continued.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller in 2019 confirmed that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election on behalf of President Trump. 

Meanwhile, Ratcliffe, a Texas Republican who served in the House of Representatives from 2015 to 2020, has faced criticism over perceived partisanship in his role as Director of National Intelligence. 

"The fact that John Ratcliffe is trying to spin the fact that Iran sent emails threatening Democrats to vote for Trump as somehow meant to damage Trump shows what a partisan hack he is," Democratic strategist Zac Petkanas posted on Twitter.

In a New York Times op-ed published Tuesday, former CIA official John Sipher questioned Ratcliffe for pushing an unconfirmed report by the New York Post that "the Obama-Biden administration had committed  criminal abuses of power and that voters should take these supposed actions into account in the upcoming election."

Michael Hayden, a former director of the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, took to Twitter to attack Ratcliffe after his comments on Biden's son Hunter Biden.

Trump has pressured Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray to open up an investigation into Hunter Biden and Joe Biden. The Washington Post reported Wednesday that Trump was unhappy Wray had not investigated the Bidens, with the president weighing the option of replacing Wray after the election.