Angus King: Ending election security briefings 'looks like a pre-cover-up'

Angus King: Ending election security briefings 'looks like a pre-cover-up'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Angus KingAngus KingOvernight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Manchin, Barrasso announce bill to revegetate forests after devastating fires Rep. Tim Ryan becomes latest COVID-19 breakthrough case in Congress MORE (I-Maine) on Monday blasted Director of National Intelligence John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeBiden, Trump battle over who's to blame for Afghanistan Sunday shows preview: US grapples with rising COVID-19 cases Trump-era intelligence chief wants Beijing Olympics moved due COVID-19 'cover-up' MORE’s announcement that his office will no longer deliver in-person election security briefings to Congress, saying it “looks like a pre-cover-up.”

“I can’t get into the head of these people, but we have a president who never likes to hear the word ‘Russia,’ at least not in the context of the relationships or of Russia meddling in our elections,” King told CNN.

“I hate to say this but it looks like a pre-cover-up. It looks like they don’t want to share the information, they’re covering up information,” he added. “I don’t know what they have or don’t have, but it looks like they’re trying to keep this information from the public so when everybody goes to vote on Nov. 3, they won’t know the extent to which they’ve been attempted to be influenced by the Russians or some other country.”

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Ratcliffe, who made the announcement Saturday, has defended the decision, telling Fox News’s Maria BartiromoMaria Sara BartiromoThe Memo: Fall in white population could add fuel to nativist fire A tale of two chambers: Trump's power holds in House, wanes in Senate The Memo: Biden beats Trump again — this time in the Senate MORE it was necessary to prevent the leak of classified information.

“I reiterated to Congress, look, I'm going to keep you fully and currently informed, as required by the law,” Ratcliffe said Sunday. “But I also said, we're not going to do a repeat of what happened a month ago, when I did more than what was required, at the request of Congress, to brief not just the Oversight Committees, but every member of Congress.”

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money — House pushes toward infrastructure vote US mayors, Black leaders push for passage of bipartisan infrastructure bill Lawmakers say innovation, trade rules key to small business gains MORE (D-Calif.) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffJan. 6 panel subpoenas four ex-Trump aides Bannon, Meadows Schiff: Criminal contempt charges possible for noncooperation in Jan. 6 probe The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks MORE (D-Calif.) slammed the announcement in a joint statement Saturday.

“This intelligence belongs to the American people, not the agencies which are its custodian. And the American people have both the right and the need to know that another nation, Russia, is trying to help decide who their president should be,” they said.