Intelligence Community To Congress: Russia Supports Trump’s Re-Election
Last week, intelligence officials delivered a briefing to the House Intelligence Committee, warning that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election in a bid to get President Donald Trump reelected, according to The New York Times.
Trump was angered by the February 13 briefing, people familiar with the matter told The Times, because he fears that Democrats will use the information against him. After the disclosure was made, Trump reportedly berated acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire for allowing the briefing to take place, sources told the newspaper.
Shortly after, the president decided to replace Maguire with U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell — a vocal Trump loyalist.
Of particular irritation to the president was Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-CA) presence at the briefing. Schiff, who chairs the committee, led Trump’s impeachment inquiry.
“Some intelligence officials viewed the briefing as a tactical error, saying that had the official who delivered the conclusion spoken less pointedly or left it out, they would have avoided angering the Republicans,” The Times reported.
The official in question is Maguire aide Shelby Pierson, who reportedly “has a reputation of delivering intelligence in somewhat blunt terms.”
Two administration officials told The Times that Trump’s decision to replace Maguire with Grenell had nothing to do with the briefing, though Maguire reportedly said in recent days that he thought he would stay on in the role.