House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff accused President Trump of betraying the country with his response to reports that Russia is interfering in the 2020 presidential election.
Trump claimed Sunday that he had not been briefed on the interference effort aimed at disrupting the Democratic presidential primary in favor of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, despite a Washington Post report citing anonymous sources who said the president and lawmakers had been told of the matter.
Intelligence officials also reportedly warned lawmakers that the Russians were trying to help Trump win reelection. Trumps national security adviser Robert OBrien said he has not seen any intelligence to corroborate that analysis. OBrien also denied that acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire was ousted over the briefing.
On Sunday morning, Trump told reporters he suspects Schiff is behind the reports.
I read where Russias helping Bernie Sanders. Nobody said it to me at all. Nobody briefed me about that at all, he said, later adding, Adam Schiff and his group, they leaked it to the papers. As usual, they ought to investigate Adam Schiff for leaking that information. He should not be leaking information out of intelligence. They ought to investigate Adam Schiff.
Schiff, a leading critic of Trump, fired back in a tweet, writing, Your false claims fool no one. You welcomed Russian help in 2016, tried to coerce Ukraines help in 2019, and wont protect our elections in 2020. Now you fired your intel chief for briefing Congress about it. Youve betrayed America. Again.
Nice deflection, Mr. President. But your false claims fool no one.
You welcomed Russian help in 2016, tried to coerce Ukraines help in 2019, and wont protect our elections in 2020.
Now you fired your intel chief for briefing Congress about it.
Youve betrayed America. Again. https://t.co/WlMDaz8stF
Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff)
February 23, 2020
In his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, special counsel Robert Mueller concluded that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election in a sweeping and systematic fashion. The intelligence community also issued an assessment that the Kremlin had a clear preference for Trump. Mueller did not, however, establish any criminal conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Trump was impeached in December on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for his efforts to get Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who was on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while his father was vice president. Schiff helped lead the impeachment investigation and argued the case for Trumps conviction to the Senate, which acquitted the president on both charges earlier this month.