Feb 23, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Pence aide says intel report of Russia helping Trump is "false information"

Marc Short. Screenshot: Fox News

Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, claimed on "Fox News Sunday" that the White House has not received intelligence that Russia is seeking to help President Trump win re-election, calling it "false information" that has been selectively leaked by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee.

The big picture: Short and national security adviser Robert O'Brien both dismissed reports published in the Washington Post and New York Times last week about a briefing provided by top election security official Shelby Pierson, an aide to outgoing acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire.

  • Pierson reportedly said several times during the briefing that Russia had “developed a preference” for Trump.
  • News of the briefing reportedly angered the president, and days later he replaced Maguire with loyalist Richard Grenell, the ambassador to Germany.
  • Short denied that Maguire was berated and fired by Trump because of the briefing, calling it "bad information."

The exchange:

SHORT: "The briefing with the president is in a classified environment too — I'm not going to get into details about what was said, what wasn't said. But as far as the question of, 'Is there information that says that Russia is trying to help elect Donald Trump?' That is false information, as far as the briefing that we've received."
CHRIS WALLACE: "But you don't know about the House briefing?"
SHORT: "Of course not!"
WALLACE: "But no member of the House told the president?"
SHORT: "I don't know whether or not members of the House have had separate conversations with the president, but it's clear that Adam Schiff's committee decided to leak it to the press once again to try to continue to foment the same kind of Russia hoax story they've been doing for three years."

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