The Office of the Director of National Intelligence recently told lawmakers that Russian agents are aiming to meddle in the 2020 election with the goal of re-electing Donald Trump. The report was contradicted by newly appointed National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, who said he hasn’t seen intelligence suggesting such an attempt, and now Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, is saying the same.
As reported by Breitbart, Short made the comment during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.
“I think there’s not intelligence that said the Russians are trying to help Donald Trump win the election,” he said.
Short acknowledged that the Trump administration is aware that foreign governments are working to “interfere in elections and sow chaos,” but did not believe there was any in favor of Trump.
“When this administration has sanctioned Russia more than any administration since Ronald Reagan, and it seems that the Democrats are going to nominate someone in Bernie Sanders who honeymooned in the Soviet Union and still seems to prefer Marxism over capitalism, it’s hard to see why they’d be choosing Donald Trump over Bernie Sanders.”
Per The Washington Times, Short placed the blame for the Russia-related leaks on Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam B. Schiff.
“That was a classified briefing that shouldn’t have been discussed,” Short said, noting that the intelligence briefing Trump received did not include any suggestion that Russia was working to help him in the 2020 election.
Short added that he believes the leak tying Russia to Trump is “false information” — at least in the context of the current information the Trump administration has received.
SHORT: It's concerning that Schiff's committee continues to leak
WALLACE: So you're saying reports that Congress was briefed about Russia helping Trump are inaccurate?
S: That was classified. I'm not going to comment
(Short is as shameless as they come) pic.twitter.com/XTCGlGHu59
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 23, 2020
Speaking to ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, O’Brien noted that the new intelligence was leaked and said he had not seen any analysis of the report. Regardless, O’Brien claimed the information he has seen leaked in the media doesn’t make sense, given the discrepancy between U.S. and Russia’s 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 said.
Since the 2016 election, intelligence officials have continued to warn that Russia and other countries will make more attempts to meddle in U.S. politics. Recently, a leak from the intelligence community revealed that Sanders’ campaign was notified that Russia might be attempting to help his campaign in the 2020 election. The news was curiously timed for the day before the Nevada caucuses, which Sanders went on to win.