Russia today rejected the claim that it will interfere with the 2020 presidential race, after US lawmakers were told that Moscow was trying to help Donald Trump win a second term.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov made the predictable denial today at a press conference where he called the claims “paranoid announcements.”
‘Unfortunately, more and more is coming [them] the closer we get to the elections, “he said in Moscow.
“Of course they have nothing to do with the truth.”
US intelligence officials told the legislators last Thursday that the Vladimir Putin regime resumed its efforts to interfere with American politics.
During a briefing with closed doors, the House Intelligence Committee was told that Russian agents were trying to influence the 2020 race and sow discord in the US electorate, as espionage chiefs believe they did in 2016.
Commissioners defended Trump while the president reacted angrily after discovering that president Adam Schiff, with whom he collided during the trial, had received the briefing.
Trump denounced his then director of national intelligence service Joseph Maguire in the aftermath of the briefing before firing him this week.
Russia has today denied that it is interfering with the 2020 presidential race to help Donald Trump (pictured at a meeting in Phoenix on Wednesday) win a second term
American intelligence chiefs believe that employees of Russian President Vladimir Putin (shown today in Moscow) want to influence the race in 2020
US intelligence chiefs believe Russia has intervened in the 2016 race by conducting campaigns on social media and stealing and spreading emails from democratic accounts.
Special counsel Robert Mueller concluded in his report last year that Russian interference was “radical and systematic.”
However, Trump has long been skeptical about the claims and sees them as a way to undermine his win against Hillary Clinton.
In 2018 he said at a Helsinki summit that he believed that Vladimir Putin had not interfered, although he later returned after an angry kickback.
The briefing on February 13 by election security officer Shelby Pierson shows that the intelligence community believes Russia will resume its efforts in 2020.
Lawmakers were told that Russia was trying to doubt the integrity of the vote to stimulate Trump’s re-election, said a person familiar with the case.
Republican committee members pushed back during the briefing by claiming that Trump has been harsh against Russia, an official familiar with the meeting said.
One member told the New York Times that Republicans had gone “crazy” about Pierson’s conclusion.
A senior official said the briefing had also made Trump furious, complaining that Democrats would use the information against him.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi quickly grasped the claims that “American voters should decide American elections – not Vladimir Putin.”
“All members of Congress must condemn the reported efforts of the President to reject threats to the integrity of our democracy and to politicize our intelligence community,” she said.
According to the New York Times, Trump was also angry that the House briefing had been done for his opponent Schiff.
Key figures: Rick Grenell (pictured left), the ambassador of Donald Trump in Germany, was appointed Wednesday as the new acting director of the national intelligence service, succeeding Joseph Maguire (right) – whose assistant told the congress that Russia had a second term for the president wanted
Schiff was one of the house managers during the Trump accusation process, in which he was accused of abusing his power by strongly arming Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.
Trump quickly rebuked Maguire and rebuked him in the Oval Office for what he considered unfaithful.
Trump wrongly believed that Pierson gave the information exclusively to Schiff and gave Maguire a “dressing up” that made him “despondent,” according to sources.
Some of Trump’s greatest defenders during the investigation of the house accusation – including representatives Devin Nunes and Elise Stefanik – are also on the intelligence panel.
Pierson chairs the Election Executive and Leadership Board, which was established in July 2019 to deal specifically with electoral security issues.
Trump’s reading ruined Maguire’s chance to become the permanent intelligence chief, sources said The Washington Post.
Trump announced this week that Maguire would be replaced by Richard Grenell as director of the national intelligence service.
The Times mentioned to two administration officials that the timing after the briefing was accidental.
Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, is a Trump loyalist whose appointment will do little to improve Trump’s relationships with the intelligence community.
Trump has publicly expressed suspicion about findings with which he disagrees by telling them to “go back to school” in 2019.
He also accused them of underestimating Iran’s threat and placing too much emphasis on that of North Korea during a public briefing to Congress.
Both informed: Devin Nunes, the Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee, and his Democratic president Adam Schiff were both told about the interference of Russia by the intelligence officials – but Trump mistakenly believed that only Schiff was told
Mike Quigley, a democratic member of the Intel committee, said he feared that Pierson and others would be endangered by saying that Russia is in favor of Trump.
“If you don’t agree with the king, you’re gone,” Quigley told The Daily Beast.
“That has a hair-raising effect on people who want to tell the truth, and that makes us less safe.”
Amid Maguire’s move, two senior members of his staff resigned – the chief executive, Andrew Hallman, and general counsel, Jason Klitenic.
Grenell’s appointment was immediately divided.
“He is probably the most unqualified person ever appointed to this position,” said Larry Pfeiffer, a former intelligence officer who helped set up the office of the director of the national intelligence service after 9/11.
But Grenell has support among the President’s followers on Capitol Hill. “Ric has a proven track record in fighting for our country, and now he will work every day to ensure that Americans are safe,” said Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader of the House.
Maguire had until March 12 to continue acting as DNI, a role he played when Dan Coats retired as the last permanent leader of the intelligence community.
Maguire had previously been director of the National Counterterrorism Center after a career with the navy as SEAL and head of special operations.
He and the broader intelligence community were pushed to the center of the news agenda by the whistleblower letter in which Trump was accused of misconduct in his relations with Ukraine.
Main problem: Grenell used his Twitter feed to send a warning to the UK after giving Huawei the green light to build part of his 5G mobile phone network in violation of US blocking requirements
Grenell is eligible to become an acting director because he already plays a role as ambassador in Germany, confirmed by the Senate, after being voted on 56-42.
He was sworn in by Mike Pence with his partner Matt Lashey by his side and became the highest gay official on a republican board.
Grenell has never worked in the intelligence community before, but was also driven as a possible director of national security at the White House, a job that went to Robert O’Brien after John Bolton’s sudden departure.
He has already spoken about one intelligence problem and says it is necessary to prevent Huawei from having access to 5G networks for mobile phones in the West.
He used Twitter to give the United Kingdom a direct warning this week that it is facing losing access to the US intelligence service – which he will now control – after Prime Minister Boris Johnson allowed Huawei to join the 5G network of the country.
Grenell has also led the US opposition to Nord Stream 2, a pipeline designed to increase the flow of natural gas from Russia to Germany.
The US is opposed on strategic grounds and has used sanctions to derail the project.