Intel officials warned House lawmakers Russia is interfering to get Trump reelected: NYT

Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia is interfering in the 2020 campaign to get President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries Tucker Carlson ratchets up criticism of Duckworth, calls her a 'coward' Trump on Confederate flag: 'It's freedom of speech' MORE reelected, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The Feb. 13 briefing by top election security officials at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to the House Intelligence Committee reportedly prompted Trump to berate now-former acting DNI Joseph MaguireJoseph MaguireHillicon Valley: Pompeo floats TikTok ban | Civil rights groups slam Facebook after call | Election security funding included in proposal Pompeo: US 'certainly looking at' ban on Chinese social media apps like TikTok Trump gives Grenell his Cabinet chair after he steps down MORE, accusing him of disloyalty for allowing the briefing.

Trump reportedly worried Democrats would use the intelligence information against him, particularly citing concerns with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDemocrats hit Trump for handling of Russian bounty allegations after White House briefing Voters must strongly reject the president's abuses by voting him out this November Democrats face tough questions with Bolton MORE (Calif.), one of the Democrats who led the impeachment investigation against him, being present during the briefing.

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Maguire is now set to step down as acting DNI. He will be replaced by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell. Trump thanked Maguire for his service on Wednesday in announcing the change, tweeting “we look forward to working with him closely, perhaps in another capacity within the Administration!”

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and a spokesperson for Schiff did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Times report.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerChuck SchumerTrump may be DACA participants' best hope, but will Democrats play ball? Pompeo: US 'certainly looking at' ban on Chinese social media apps like TikTok Russian bounties revive Trump-GOP foreign policy divide MORE (D-N.Y.) tweeted Thursday that "now we know why" Republicans in the Senate continue blocking election security bills, linking to the New York Times article.
 
"They'd rather let Putin win then stand up to President Trump," he tweeted.
 
Senate Republicans have repeatedly blocked bills designed to bolster election security, citing concerns around federalizing elections. But Republicans supported the inclusion of 
$425 million in an appropriations bill, later signed into law, to help states boost election security efforts.

The Washington Post reported earlier Thursday that Shelby Pierson, the principal adviser at ODNI for election security and the intelligence community’s Election Threats Executive, led last week's congressional briefing.

Pierson was appointed by former DNI Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsAmerica's divide widens: Ignore it no longer Trump gives Grenell his Cabinet chair after he steps down German lawmaker, US ambassador to Germany trade jabs MORE in 2019. Coats left the administration that same year after disagreements with Trump over issues including election security.

Pierson told NPR last month that she was concerned about interference in the 2020 elections from multiple nations.

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"This isn't a Russia-only problem," Pierson said on "Morning Edition."

"We're still also concerned about China, Iran, non-state actors, 'hacktivists.' And frankly ... even Americans might be looking to undermine confidence in the elections," Pierson added.

A spokesperson for Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrBiden campaign adds staff in three battleground states Exclusive investigation on the coronavirus pandemic: Where was Congress? Trump asserts his power over Republicans MORE (R-N.C.) declined to comment on the Times story. Burr, along with Committee Vice Chair Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenators press IRS chief on stimulus check pitfalls Hillicon Valley: Facebook takes down 'boogaloo' network after pressure | Election security measure pulled from Senate bill | FCC officially designating Huawei, ZTE as threats Overnight Defense: Democrats blast Trump handling of Russian bounty intel | Pentagon leaders set for House hearing July 9 | Trump moves forward with plan for Germany drawdown MORE (D-Va.), led a years-long bipartisan investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, with three reports from this investigation released so far, and two more to come.

Warner on Wednesday expressed outrage at the selection of Grenell as acting DNI, pointing to his lack of experience in intelligence issues.
 
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie ThompsonBennie Gordon ThompsonState legislatures consider US Capitol's Confederate statues House eyes votes to remove symbols of Confederates from Capitol House to vote on removing bust of Supreme Court justice who wrote Dred Scott ruling MORE (D-Miss.) on Thursday said Trump "has been in denial about foreign election interference for three years because his ego cannot accept that Russia interfered on his behalf."
 
"By firing Acting DNI Maguire because his staff provided the candid conclusions of the Intelligence Community to Congress regarding Russian meddling in the 2020 Presidential election, the President is not only refusing to defend against foreign interference, he’s inviting it," Thompson said in a statement.
 
Updated at 6:13 p.m.