Trump accuses Schiff of leaking information that Russia was helping Sanders

President Trump accused House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) of leaking information that Russia has sought to interfere with the Democratic primary to help Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) campaign. 

“Nobody said it to me at all,” Trump told reporters Sunday about the reported Russian interference. “They ought to investigate Adam Schiff for leaking that intelligence.”

Trump continued his accusations in a tweet later Sunday afternoon without providing evidence to support his claims.

“Somebody please tell incompetent (thanks for my high poll numbers) & corrupt politician Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff to stop leaking Classified information or, even worse, made up information, to the Fake News Media. Someday he will be caught, & that will be a very unpleasant experience!” Trump tweeted.

Schiff denied Trump’s accusations in a tweet, telling the president, “Americans decide American elections.”

In a subsequent tweet, Schiff called Trump’s claims “deflection.”

An Intelligence Committee official also told The Hill that the president’s accusations are categorically false.

“The Chairman does not comment on the substance classified briefings, and the President is trying to divert attention from his blatant firing of the acting [director of national intelligence] for briefing Congress,” the official said.

Trump in a tweet Saturday night lamented the fact that he was not told about the reported Kremlin interference, leveling another attack at Schiff alleging the congressman leaked the information. 

“‘The Kremlin is reportedly backing Bernie Sanders bid to win the White House.’ Jon Scott  @FoxNews  Why didn’t somebody tell me this?” Trump tweeted. 

“Just another Shifty Schiff leak. Isn’t there a law about this stuff?” Trump tweeted. 

Trump also congratulated Sanders for “a great win” in the Nevada caucuses. 

The Washington Post first reported Friday that Russia sought to help Sanders campaign. 

Sanders said he was briefed by U.S. intelligence officials about the attempted interference. Lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee were also reportedly briefed on the matter.

“Unlike Donald Trump, I do not consider Vladimir Putin a good friend. He is an autocratic thug who is attempting to destroy democracy and crush dissent in Russia,” Sanders said. “Let’s be clear, the Russians want to undermine American democracy by dividing us up and, unlike the current president, I stand firmly against their efforts, and any other foreign power that wants to interfere in our election.”

There is no indication from the reports or Sanders’s comments that Schiff leaked the information, as Trump is accusing the congressman of doing. 

The New York Times had reported a day earlier that intelligence officials also warned lawmakers in a closed briefing that Russia was interfering to help Trump. That reportedly prompted the president to berate former acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire. Trump was also reportedly worried about Schiff, who had led the House’s impeachment inquiry against him, being present for the briefing. 

Russian agents successfully launched an interference campaign ahead of the 2016 election designed to favor Trump’s campaign that year, according to U.S. intelligence agencies, the Senate Intelligence Committee and the report compiled by former special counsel Robert Mueller. 

National security adviser Robert O’Brien said Sunday that he hadn’t seen “any intelligence that Russia is doing anything to attempt to get President Trump reelected.” 

“I think this is the same old story that we’ve heard before. … We’ve been very tough on Russia, and we’ve been great on election security. So I think it’s a nonstory,” O’Brien said on ABC’s “This Week,” rejecting reports to the contrary.

This report was updated at 1:43 p.m.

Tags Adam Schiff Bernie Sanders Donald J. Trump Donald Trump Joseph Maguire Robert Mueller Vladimir Putin

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