The Latest Russia Hoax is Already Debunked
Welcome back, Russia hysteria!
While it’s no secret that Russia meddles in foreign elections, the evidence that they backed any one candidate in 2016 has always been lacking. The aim of Russian election interference is more often to create chaos and division rather than back one particular candidate.
Despite the secretive FBI investigation which morphed into Robert Mueller’s special counsel exonerating Trump from claims of collusion, the Washington Post reported last night that Russia is up to their old tricks again.
According to them, Joseph Maguire had been considered to be nominated for the DNI post, but Trump’s opinion shifted last week after he learned from a Republican ally that the intelligence official in charge of election security (Shelby Pierson, who works for Maguire) gave a closed briefing last Thursday to the House Intelligence Committee. The Post claims that while we don’t exactly know what Pierson said in the meeting, “the president erroneously believed that she had given information exclusively to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the committee chairman, and it would be helpful to Democrats if released publicly, the people familiar with the matter said.”
And what did the Post claim that information was? According to their narrative: “Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected, five people familiar with the matter said, in a disclosure that angered Mr. Trump, who complained that Democrats would use it against him.”
But according to CNN of all places, it’s mostly B.S.
Jake Tapper writes:
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. “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. “The problem is Shelby” — Pierson, the elections threats executive in the intelligence community — “said they developed a preference for Trump. A more reasonable interpretation of the intelligence is not that they have a preference, it’s a step short of that.
“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. “And by the way,” the official says, “both Democrats and Republicans were challenging this at the briefing.”
Then there’s the matter of the tense meeting between President Trump and erstwhile Acting Director of National Intelligence Admiral Maguire. “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.”
None of this disputes that Trump desires to replace those who have Intel expertise with partisan loyalists, or dismisses the larger issues and concerns about Russia and how the president seeks help from abroad. Just that there seems to be more to this particular story. ALSO none of this disputes that the Russians (and others) are attempting to interfere in the US election again.
Or as President Trump put it this morning:
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