A briefing in Washington Thursday warned house lawmakers that Russia is planning to interfere in the upcoming presidential election.
Some members of the United States intelligence community berated Joseph Maguire, the outgoing director of national intelligence for even allowing the briefing to take place. Members of the intelligence community viewed it as a tactical error. Mr. Trump was particularly disappointed that Adam B. Schiff, the leader of the impeachment proceedings was present during the Feb. thirteenth briefing.
During the briefing some of trumps allies changed conclusions, some even going so far as to say trump was tough on Russia, and even strengthened European security. The intelligence community thought that the situation could have been disclosed more delicately to avoid angering republicans, but Shelby Pierson, the official who gave the briefing has a reputation for speaking bluntly according to the New York Times.
On Wednesday the president announced that he was replacing Mr. Maguire with Richard Grenell, a Russian ambassador, and a very vocal trump supporter. Although trump said Mr. Grenell has been in discussion with Washington about taking on more responsibilities for some time, many people believe the briefing had a hand in the move. Trump maintains that the timing was just coincidental.
Mr. Trump has long accused the intelligence community of using the investigation into Russia’s interference into the 2016 election as a “Deep State” conspiracy in an effort to undermine his reelection, an accusation that the intelligence community again and again refutes.
Notably, the convention included Mr. Schiff, a long time critic of trump, who has been a leading force in the Russia investigation of 2016. President Trump complained that Mr. Schiff would “weaponize” the information from the meeting, and use it to “steel the presidency” from him. According to an unnamed source familiar with the briefing, “Mr. Trump was furious that he was not informed immediately about the briefing.”
Although the president did not erupt at Mr Schiff, it was pretty clear that he was angry. Instead Trump directed his anger at Ms. Person, one of the intelligence officials; officials said she was only reporting facts unearthed by the Intelligence Support Activity (ISA), and not reporting any matter of opinion, but nonetheless trump continued his attacks.
In early 2017, the intelligence community issued a report stating that president Vladimir Putin personally ordered a team to influence the previous years elections (as unearthed by the ISA). After this report was relieved, many republicans arguing Russia’s involvement changed tactics instead saying that they were attempting to instill chaos and not looking at president trump specifically.
Whether or not Russian state forces is, or has ever, interfered in U.S. Presidential Elections is still up for some debate, but the evidence is clear that there has been meddling coming out of Russia. If it is proven that Russian state forces are meddling in the 2020 elections, this will start an international incontinent.