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“The Intelligence Doesn’t Say That”: National Security Official Pushes Back On 2020 Russian Meddling Report

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On Thursday, the New York Times published an account of a briefing between an aide to outgoing National Intelligence director Joseph Maguire and the House Intelligence Committee claiming that Russia was meddling in the 2020 election, and was “trying to get Trump re-elected.”

Another misinformation campaign is being launched by Democrats in Congress saying that Russia prefers me to any of the Do Nothing Democrat candidates who still have been unable to, after two weeks, count their votes in Iowa. Hoax number 7!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2020

Not so, according to a national security official – who told CNN‘s Jake Tapper that the aide, Shelby Pierson, may have mischaracterized the intelligence community’s findings during the heated meeting.

“A national security official I know and trust pushes back on the way the briefing/ODNI story is being told, and others with firsthand knowledge agree with his assessment,” tweeted Tapper on Friday, adding that a more reasonable interpretation is that Russia viwes Trump as a dealmaker they can work with – “not that they prefer him over Sanders or Buttigieg or anyone else.”

2/ “What’s been articulated in the news is that the intelligence community has concluded that the Russians are trying to help Trump again. But the intelligence doesn’t say that,” the official says…

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 21, 2020

4/ “It’s more that they understand the president is someone they can work with, he’s a dealmaker. But not that they prefer him over Sanders or Buttigieg or anyone else. So it may have been mischaracterized by Shelby” at the House Intel briefing last week…

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 21, 2020

6/ “The President was upset that he had to hear about an intelligence conclusion from a Member of the House Republicans rather than from the intelligence community. So he was out of joint with Maguire on that process.”

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 21, 2020

Tapper hedges at the end – noting that none of this disputes that Russians (and others) are attempting to interfere in the 2020 election. 

8/ ALSO none of this disputes that the Russians (and others) are attempting to interfere in the US election again.

— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 21, 2020