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 Trump 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 Maguire, 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 Schiff (Calif.), one of the Democrats who led the impeachment investigation against him, being present during the briefing.
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.
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 Coats 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.
“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 Burr (R-N.C.) declined to comment on the Times story. Burr, along with Committee Vice Chair Mark Warner (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.