Intel officials warned lawmakers Russia interfering in 2020 election

Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia is interfering in the 2020 campaign to get President Trump reelected, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The Feb. 13 briefing by top election security officials at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to the House Intelligence Committee reportedly prompted Trump to berate now-former Acting DNI Joseph Maguire, accusing him of disloyalty over the briefing.

Trump reportedly worried Democrats would use the intelligence information against him, particularly citing concerns with House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (Calif.), one of the Democrats who led the impeachment investigation against him, being present during the briefing.

Maguire is now set to step down as acting DNI. He will be replaced by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell. Trump thanked Maguire for his service on Wednesday in announcing the change, tweeting “we look forward to working with him closely, perhaps in another capacity within the Administration!”

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and a spokesperson for Schiff did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Times report.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted Thursday that “now we know why” Republicans in the Senate continue blocking election security bills, linking to the New York Times article.

“They’d rather let Putin win then stand up to President Trump,” he tweeted.

Senate Republicans have repeatedly blocked bills meant to bolster election security, citing concerns around federalizing elections, though Republicans did back $425 million being included in the most recent appropriations bill to help states boost election security efforts.

The Washington Post reported earlier Thursday that Shelby Pierson, the principal adviser at ODNI for election security and the intelligence community’s Election Threats Executive, led last week’s congressional briefing.