Intelligence Reportedly Warned Lawmakers of More Pro-Trump Russian Interference
President Trump then replaced the intelligence official who provided that information.
According to a New York Times report, intelligence officials warned lawmakers that Russia is looking to interfere in the 2020 campaign to get President Trump reelected. And though intelligence officials have already said in past briefings that Russia was continuing its campaign interference after the 2016 election, their recent briefing reportedly included new information that Russia intended to interfere in the 2020 primaries, as well as the general election.
The day after the February 13 briefing, Trump reportedly confronted outgoing acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire the next day for allowing it to take place. By February 19, Trump announced that he was replacing Maguire with U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who is one of the President’s supporters.
On Thursday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the House Intelligence Committee chairman who was at the briefing, tweeted that Trump was “again jeopardizing our efforts to stop foreign meddling.”
The New York Times said the White House did not respond to a request for comment. On Friday, Trump tweeted that “another misinformation campaign is being launched by Democrats in Congress.”
Another misinformation campaign is being launched by Democrats in Congress saying that Russia prefers me to any of the Do Nothing Democrat candidates who still have been unable to, after two weeks, count their votes in Iowa. Hoax number 7!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2020
Though multiple intelligence groups have confirmed that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, Trump has repeatedly undermined that conclusion, and has openly defended Russia and President Vladimir Putin’s claims of innocence in the past.
“[Putin] said he didn’t meddle,” Trump said in November 2017. “I asked him again. You can only ask so many times. Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that.’ And I believe, I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it.”