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O’Brien: Maguire was not pushed out over Russia briefing

White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien in an interview broadcast on Sunday denied that former acting director of national intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire was dismissed because one of his appointees briefed the House Intelligence Committee on Russian efforts to interfere in the 2020 election.

Asked by CBS’s Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation” if he was “100 percent sure it had nothing to do with this congressional briefing,” O’Brien responded: “First of all, Joe Maguire wasn’t pushed out… he was serving under the Vacancy Act. He was acting, and his term, I believe, was ending March 11 or March 2, like two weeks from now.”

“We’re looking for a nominee that can be a terrific candidate, who can be nominated for this position. We needed someone who was Senate-confirmed, who could serve in the meantime,” O’Brien added.

The White House has tapped U.S. ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell as the new acting DNI and has said the former ambassador, who is unlikely to achieve Senate confirmation, will not serve in the role long-term.

“We’ll get a nominee out to the Senate as soon as possible,” O’Brien told CBS. “We’d love to see Joe Maguire stay involved in the government. Joe had a great relationship with the president, I had a great relationship with him. We have a lot of respect for Joe Maguire.”

Trump reportedly decided against nominating Maguire on a permanent basis after learning about the briefing by Maguire’s staffer, Shelby Pierson, and, according to The Washington Post, erroneously believed she had specifically briefed Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a frequent Trump target who served as one of the House’s impeachment managers.

Pierson reportedly told lawmakers that Russia had a “developed preference” to reelect Trump.

Tags Adam Schiff Joseph Maguire

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