National Security

Haspel not in attendance at latest Trump intelligence briefing: reports

CIA Director Gina Haspel was reportedly not in attendance for President Trump’s daily in-person intelligence briefing on Friday amid speculation Trump is considering her firing.

Both CNN and NBC News reported that the meeting, organized by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, excluded Haspel. A senior administration official told CNN that her exclusion was not a good sign for the CIA chief even if her presence is not normally mandatory.

The agency declined to comment to CNN. The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

The news comes as the Trump administration undergoes a shakeup among its defense and intelligence leadership, with Defense Secretary Mark Esper fired earlier this week and top Pentagon officials since departing. The firing has been seen as the start of top Cabinet changes that also target Haspel and FBI Director Christopher Wray. Another Trump cybersecurity official is expecting his ouster as well.

Trump and his allies have long been critical of Haspel, but the president’s frustration with his CIA chief reportedly began to bubble over after Haspel and other intelligence officials opposed Ratcliffe’s decision to declassify documents related to the probe into the origins of the Russia investigation led by U.S. Attorney John Durham.

Still, Republicans have come to Haspel’s defense amid speculation that Trump is considering her firing.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and an adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), indicated that he did not think Haspel should be fired.

“I believe both of them are good public servants and done a good job for the country,” Cornyn said when asked if Haspel and Wray should stay in place.

In a past statement to The Hill, the CIA declined to comment on the possibility of Haspel being fired.

Tags Christopher Wray CIA Donald Trump firing Gina Haspel Haspel Intelligence John Cornyn John Durham John Ratcliffe Mark Esper Mitch McConnell Trump White House

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