The election security official who told lawmakers that Russia is interfering in the 2020 presidential election on behalf of President Donald Trump does not have evidence of those claims, reports CNN.
“The intelligence doesn’t say that,” one senior national security official told CNN. “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.”
Shelby Pierson, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s election security, in a private briefing with the House Intelligence Committee, said Russia wanted to see Trump reelected since it viewed his administration as more favorable to the Kremlin’s interests.
The New York Times first reported on the briefing.
Another intelligence official told CNN that Pierson’s characterization of the intelligence was “misleading,” while another national security official said Pierson’s answers lacked context and nuance.
Trump’s national security adviser Robert O’Brien last week said he saw no intelligence to show of Russia interfering in the election in hopes of reelecting Trump.
“All I know is that the Republicans on the side of the House hearing were unhappy with the hearing and said that there was no intelligence to back up what was being said,” O’Brien said. “But here’s the deal: I don’t even know if what’s been reported as being said (by the briefers) is true. You know those are leaks coming out of that hearing.”
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