Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia is interfering in the 2020 campaign to get President TrumpDonald John TrumpChasten Buttigieg: ‘I’ve been dealing with the likes of Rush Limbaugh my entire life’Lawmakers paint different pictures of Trump’s ‘opportunity zone’ programWe must not turn our heads from the effects of traumatic brain injuriesMORE 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 MaguireThe Hill’s Morning Report – Democrats duke it out during Nevada debateHillicon Valley: Barr threatens tech’s prized legal shield | House panel seeks information from Amazon’s Ring | Trump DOJ backs Oracle in Supreme Court fight against Google | TikTok unveils new safety controlsTop Democrat on Senate Intel panel pans Trump’s DNI pickMORE, 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 Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffGraham: Trump has ‘all the legal authority in the world’ to pardon StoneRoger Stone sentenced to over three years in prisonTop intelligence community lawyer leaving positionMORE (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.
“They’d rather let Putin win then stand up to President Trump,” he tweeted.
Senate Republicans have repeatedly blocked bills meant to bolster election security, citing concerns around federalizing elections, though Republicans did back $425 million being included in the most recent appropriations bill 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 communitys Election Threats Executive, led last week’s congressional briefing.
Pierson was appointed by former DNI Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsThe Hill’s Morning Report – Democrats duke it out during Nevada debateTop Democrat on Senate Intel panel pans Trump’s DNI pickTrump expected to tap Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell as acting intel chiefMORE 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 BurrRichard Mauze BurrPelosi joins pressure campaign on HuaweiSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimonyUS prosecutors bring new charges against China’s HuaweiMORE (R-N.C.) declined to comment on the story. Burr, along with Committee Vice Chair Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerTrump officially makes Richard Grenell acting intelligence chiefTop Democrat on Senate Intel panel pans Trump’s DNI pickTrump expected to tap Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell as acting intel chiefMORE (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.
“As Vice Chairman of the Senate Intel Committee, I remain committed to robust, bipartisan oversight of the intelligence community, up to and including the DNI, and ensuring that the work of our intelligence professionals is never interfered with or manipulated for political ends,” Warner said.