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 TrumpSenators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal Trump says he'll look into small business loan program restricting casinos 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 MaguireSchiff calls on DNI Grenell to explain intelligence community changes Democrats seize on Trump's firing of intelligence community watchdog Trump fires intelligence community watchdog who flagged Ukraine whistleblower complaint 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 SchiffHillicon Valley: Schiff presses intel chief on staff changes | Warren offers plan to secure elections | Twitter's Jack Dorsey to donate B to coronavirus fight | WhatsApp takes steps to counter virus misinformation Schiff calls on DNI Grenell to explain intelligence community changes READ: Schiff plans to investigate Trump firing intel watchdog 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.

 
"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 CoatsWe weren't ready for a pandemic — imagine a crippling cyberattack GOP presses for swift Ratcliffe confirmation to intel post Experts report recent increase in Chinese group's cyberattacks 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 BurrTrump takes heat for firing intel watchdog during pandemic COVID-19 and the coming corruption pandemic Burr says intelligence watchdog should be 'independent' after inspector general firing MORE (R-N.C.) declined to comment on the Times story. Burr, along with Committee Vice Chair Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerSenators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing Democratic senator rips Navy head's 'completely inappropriate' speech on ousted carrier captain Democrats seize on Trump's firing of intelligence community watchdog 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 ThompsonDemocrats struggle to keep up with Trump messaging on coronavirus Pelosi forms House committee to oversee coronavirus response Democrats introduce bill to set up commission to review coronavirus response 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.