Newly appointed National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien told ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos that he hasn’t seen any evidence that Russia is interfering in the U.S. election in order to help Donald Trump get re-elected, despite reports to the contrary from intelligence officials.
“I haven’t seen any intelligence that Russia is doing anything to attempt to get President Trump reelected,” O’Brien asserted.
His statement comes just days after the Office of the Director of National Intelligence told lawmakers that Russian agents are interfering in the 2020 race, and that their meddling appears to be aimed at helping Trump get re-elected.
O’Brien dismissed the reports, saying that the report was leaked information.
“I think it’s the same old story we’ve heard before,” O’Brien said, “Our message to the Russians is stay out of the U.S. elections. We’ve been very tough on Russia and we’ve been great on election security.”
When Stephanopoulos pushed the NSA head on why he appeared to be unsure about the information from the intelligence agency, O’Brien claimed that he hadn’t seen the analysis of the report. But, he added, that while he would like to see the intel at some point, from what he has heard in reports in the media about the briefing, it doesn’t add up given that the U.S. and Russia have competing foreign policy goals.
“If there’s someone from the intel community that has something different, I’d be happy to take a look at it. I just haven’t seen it,” he concluded.
O’Brien also weighed in on reports that Russia may be attempting to help Bernie Sanders’ campaign, saying that he wasn’t surprised that it was happening while disagreeing that Russia could also be pushing for a Trump second term.
O’Brien’s comments echo those of the president, who held a rally in Las Vegas over the weekend.
“It’s disinformation. That’s the only thing they’re good at, they’re not good at anything else. They get nothing done. Do-nothing Democrats,” he said.
Trump also tweeted that no one told him that Russia was trying to help Sanders’ campaign.
Robert O’Brien claims he‘s “not seen” intel that #Russia????????is is trying to throw the 2020 election to Trump.
Q: “Don’t you have a responsibility as national security adviser to find out?”
O’Brien: "I haven’t seen the intel."
READ THE MUELLER REPORT.????pic.twitter.com/maywl6II3l
— Dr. Dena Grayson (@DrDenaGrayson) February 23, 2020
Intelligence officials have been warning since the 2016 election that Russia would continue to attempt to interfere in U.S. politics.
The intelligence agency is in upheaval during this key time, with Trump looking to replace Joseph Maguire, who was dismissed from his role last week. Richard Grenell, a Trump ally, has been appointed to temporarily fill the job.
O’Brien denied that Maquire was fired because Trump was upset with him because his intelligence was providing fodder for Democrats to use against the president.