Grenell asks top intel official to remain in role amid lawmaker concerns

Grenell asks top intel official to remain in role amid lawmaker concerns

Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Richard Grenell will not replace Shelby Pierson, the intelligence official whose briefing of the House Intelligence Committee reportedly kept President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign: Trump and former vice president will have phone call about coronavirus Esper: Military personnel could help treat coronavirus patients 'if push comes to shove' Schumer calls for military official to act as medical equipment czar MORE from permanently appointing then-acting DNI Joseph MaguireJoseph MaguireFormer intelligence chiefs slam Trump for removing officials Acting director of National Counterterrorism Center fired: report Trump taps new director for National Counterterrorism Center MORE, Pierson told The New York Times on Tuesday.

“Ambassador Grenell has not asked me to leave,” Pierson told the newspaper. “In fact, he has encouraged and affirmed his support for my position here in the organization. I have not asked to depart nor discussed resignation in any way.”

The president named Grenell, then the ambassador to Germany, to the DNI post after reportedly becoming angry with Maguire over Pierson’s briefing, in which she reportedly told members that Russia favored Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

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White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien has denied Maguire was fired, saying his departure was required under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.

Pierson declined to confirm or deny the content of the briefing in the interview, saying it was classified, but said she had discussed election security with Grenell several times since he was named to the position.

Pierson was initially appointed by then-DNI Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsWe weren't ready for a pandemic — imagine a crippling cyberattack GOP presses for swift Ratcliffe confirmation to intel post Experts report recent increase in Chinese group's cyberattacks MORE in 2019 before Coats’s departure later that year. Before leaving his position, Coats frequently offered assessments of Russian interference in the 2016 election that contradicted the president.

The Hill has reached out to the office of the DNI for comment.