Schiff: Intelligence agencies focused on Russian interference 'even if the president isn't'

Schiff: Intelligence agencies focused on Russian interference 'even if the president isn't'
© Greg Nash

House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump lashes out at Pelosi as she visits Jordan to discuss Syria Trump's insult-comic act enters danger zone  White House staggers after tumultuous 48 hours MORE (D-Calif.) reacted Sunday to a New York Times report on U.S. intelligence agencies’ efforts against Russian election meddling that drew President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE’s ire.

“Certainly I think the intelligence community is training its focus and resources on the Russian threat even if the president isn’t,” Schiff said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

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“Establishing a deterrent [to election interference is very important, but that effort to establish a deterrent is dramatically undercut when the president, a month ago, told Putin over the phone that he still thinks the Russian interference into our election was a hoax,” Schiff added.

The Times article, published Saturday, detailed U.S. efforts to penetrate Russia’s power grid.

“It has gotten far, far more aggressive over the past year,” one senior intelligence official told the Times. “We are doing things at a scale that we never contemplated a few years ago.”  

Trump denounced the story as “NOT TRUE!” Saturday night and called the Times’ publication of it “a virtual act of Treason.”

“What I found most disturbing in that New York Times story was the fact that the security officials within the administration felt they couldn’t tell this to the president because they felt he might compromise that information,” Schiff said.