White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien claimed Sunday that Russia was supporting Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPressure grows for breakthrough in Biden agenda talks Sanders, Manchin escalate fight over .5T spending bill Sanders blames media for Americans not knowing details of Biden spending plan MORE’ (I-Vt.) presidential campaign in hopes he would cut the U.S. military budget.
“What I heard from the FBI is that Russia would like Bernie Sanders to win the Democrat nomination and would probably like him to be president, understandably, because he wants to spend money on social programs and probably would have to take it out of the military, that would make sense,” O’Brien said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
O'Brien didn't provide any further evidence to back up the claim.
MAGUIRE PUSHED OUT? NSA Robert O’Brien tells @margbrennan that both he and @realDonaldTrump have “a tremendous amount of respect,” for former acting director of national intelligence Joseph MaguireJoseph MaguireJudge dismisses Nunes's defamation suit against Washington Post Retired Navy admiral behind bin Laden raid says he voted for Biden Congressional Democrats request FBI briefing on foreign election interference efforts MORE and that he was not pushed out.https://t.co/MUIFjAPsMQ pic.twitter.com/cxCxi5t7KK— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) February 23, 2020
Sanders said last week that he had been briefed on Russian efforts to propel him to the nomination but said he stands “firmly against” Russian interference efforts.
That news came shortly after a separate report that lawmakers had been briefed that Russia was also interfering to help President TrumpDonald TrumpMcAuliffe takes tougher stance on Democrats in Washington Democrats troll Trump over Virginia governor's race Tom Glavine, Ric Flair, Doug Flutie to join Trump for Herschel Walker event MORE's reelection.
O’Brien, like Vice President Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short, said that he had seen no evidence indicating Russia supported Trump.
“I get this secondhand, but from Republican congressmen that were on the [House Intelligence ] Committee, there was no intelligence behind it. I haven’t seen intelligence to support the report leaked,” he said.
“I have not seen that and again, why would they have a preference for President Trump, who is rebuilding the military” and providing aid to Ukraine, O’Brien later said.
In the same interview, O’Brien denied former acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire was dismissed because his appointee Shelby Pierson delivered the briefing in question, telling Brennan that “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 12, like two weeks from now.”