New reports have emerged claiming that Election security officials in the United States briefed lawmakers last week that Russia was working to undermine and influence the 2020 presidential elections to help Donald Trump win.
According to the New York Times, who first reported on the briefing, Election security official Shelby Pierson said Russia’s efforts included hacking, use of social media and attacks on election infrastructure and that Russia favors Trump.
On Wednesday, Trump announced he was naming Richard Grenell, the current US ambassador to Germany and a staunch Trump loyalist as acting Director of National Intelligence, after getting angry at outgoing DNI Joseph Maguire for allowing the information about Russia’s meddling efforts to be included in the briefing to Adam Schiff and Democrat lawmakers, who used Russian meddling accusations and the Ukraine-Biden story as a basis to begin impeachment proceedings against him.
Trump was reportedly angry that Maguire’s report could be weaponized by the Democrats especially as Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 election, which the US intelligence community believes was aimed at helping Trump beat Hillary Clinton — led to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation which lasted for three years.
A national security official in the Trump administration told CNN that Pierson may have misinterpreted the intelligence that Russia favored Trump. “A more reasonable interpretation of the intelligence is not that they have a preference, it’s a step short of that. It’s more that they understand the President is someone they can work with, he’s a dealmaker. But not that they prefer him over (Bernie) Sanders or (Pete) Buttigieg or anyone else. So it may have been mischaracterized by Shelby,” the official said.
“What the (intelligence community) sees as reporting the truth — a simple statement of facts in evidence without judgment — the President sees as undermining his legitimacy,” a former unnamed intelligence official told CNN. James Clapper, who was director of national intelligence under President Barack Obama reacted to the story, telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room” Thursday evening that Russia would again try to interfere in the 2020 US Presidential election.
“This is not a big surprise, but it illustrates the tremendous challenge that the intelligence community has where they’re teeing up facts that our President doesn’t want to hear, and with a result that the messenger got shot in the form of Joe Maguire being asked to leave,” Clapper said. It should be remembered that in July 2018 in Helsinki, Finland, Trump sided with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s assertion that Russia didn’t meddle in the 2016 election despite his intelligence community’s assessment to the contrary,
“I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today,” Trump told reporters as he stood beside Putin