Officials are beginning to push back on a New York Times report from this week that claimed that Russia was attempting to help President Donald Trump get re-elected, arguing that there is no intelligence to support the claim.
The New York Times reported on Thursday:
Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected, five people familiar with the matter said. …
Some intelligence officials viewed the briefing as a tactical error, saying the conclusions could have been delivered in a less pointed manner or left out entirely…
During an interview that is set to air on Sunday, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said that he had not seen any intelligence supporting the allegation that Russia was attempting to help Trump get re-elected, and added that members of Congress told him that there was no evidence behind the claims.
O’Brien also noted that the leak came out of the House Intelligence Committee, whose chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), has long been accused of selectively leaking information out of the Committee to advance the narratives of the Democrat Party.
“As the national security adviser to the president, have you assured the president that this U.S. intelligence finding is real?” CBS News’ Margaret Brennan asked O’Brien.
“Well, I have not seen the findings,” O’Brien said. “I think what he’s referring to and what folks are talking about is a briefing that took place last week at the House Intelligence Committee that was leaked to the press, and I have not seen that report, and from what I understand about the report is that there was no, and again, I get this second hand, but from Republican Congressmen that were in the Committee, there was no intelligence behind it.”
“I haven’t seen any intelligence to support the reports that were leaked out of the House, but it’s just hard to comment on that because again, I wasn’t there, and these were leaks that were coming from a House Intel Committee hearing,” O’Brien continued. “I haven’t seen any intelligence that would back up what I’m reading in the papers.”
WATCH: NSA Robert O'Brien tells @margbrennan that there's "no intelligence behind" claims of Russian effort to re-elect President Trump: "I haven't seen any intelligence to support the reports that were leaked out."
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) February 22, 2020
CBS News investigative reporter Catherine Herridge reported on Friday: “Source familiar w/house briefing @CBSNews says briefers pressed for evidence to back up claims Russia ‘trying to help POTUS in 2020.’ Asked if there was signals intelligence – such as phone intercepts or ‘SIGINT’ – to back up claims, source said briefers had none to offer #DNI.”
Source familiar w/house briefing @CBSNews says briefers pressed for evidence to back up claims Russia “trying to help POTUS in 2020.” Asked if there was signals intelligence – such as phone intercepts or “SIGINT” – to back up claims, source said briefers had none to offer #DNI
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) February 21, 2020
Trump responded to Herridge’s tweet late on Saturday night, writing, “Just another Shifty Schiff leak. Isn’t there a law about this stuff?”
The Daily Wire highlighted this week just a few of the actions that Trump has taken against Russia:
- Trump has repeatedly enacted tough sanctions against Russia and Russian oligarchs for a wide range of offenses ranging from election interference to supporting destabilizing actions in Ukraine.
- Trump expelled over 60 Russian diplomats from the U.S. after Russia engaged in an assassination attempt in the U.K.
- Trump played a significant role in securing an extra $100 billion in funding for NATO, which serves to counter Russian aggression.
- The Trump administration killed hundreds of Russian mercenaries in Syria.
- Trump has aggressively tried to prevent Russia from expanding its influence in the energy sector in Europe.
- Trump proposed buying Greenland last year in an apparent attempt to counter increasing Russian aggression and influence in the arctic.
- Trump has repeatedly gone after Russia’s top allies, including China, Iran, and North Korea.