Looks like the New York Times report claiming the House Intel Committee was briefed on Russia trying to interfere in the 2020 race to help President Donald Trump is now completely falling apart.
First to raise doubts were CNN’s Jake Tapper and CBS’s Catherine Herridge saying their sources debunked different aspects of the story.
Now, more officials are publicly calling out the story as not accurate.
National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien confirmed Herridge’s earlier reporting that there wasn’t any intelligence evidence – sigint, such as communications intercepts or the like – to back up the claim.
WATCH: NSA Robert O'Brien tells @margbrennan that there's "no intelligence behind" claims of Russian effort to re-elect President Trump: "I haven't seen any intelligence to support the reports that were leaked out."
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) February 22, 2020
Source familiar w/house briefing @CBSNews says briefers pressed for evidence to back up claims Russia “trying to help POTUS in 2020.” Asked if there was signals intelligence – such as phone intercepts or “SIGINT” – to back up claims, source said briefers had none to offer #DNI
— Catherine Herridge (@CBS_Herridge) February 21, 2020
CNN’s Jake Tapper had previously cited one national security official saying that it wasn’t an accurate report. Now they’re reporting that two more officials are confirming that.
US Intel official Shelby Pierson appears to have overstated the Intel community's assessment of 2020 Russian interference, omitting important nuance during a briefing with lawmakers, 3 national security officials tell me, @jaketapper & @ZcohenCNN https://t.co/WVs9ZnH3DT
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) February 23, 2020
The first national security official, earlier cited by Tapper, had said that “The intelligence doesn’t say that.” “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,” according to that official.
In the two new statements, “one intelligence official said that Pierson’s characterization of the intelligence was “misleading” and a national security official said Pierson failed to provide the “nuance” needed to accurately convey the US intelligence conclusions,” according to CNN.
As we’ve previously noted, it would seem pretty silly for Russia to want Trump to win, given everything that he’s done, policy-wise to inhibit Russia – building up NATO, rebuilding the U.S. military, building up our energy independence and inhibiting Russia’s efforts to take over energy options in Europe, dumping the Iran Deal, dropping bombs on hundreds of Russians in Syria, giving lethal weapons to Ukraine and upping sanctions on Russian officials and oligarchs.
But once again, one has to wonder about this stuff again leaking out of the House Intel Committee and being spun it for the media to again try to rack up a Russian hoax against Trump? This of course followed the dismal Democratic debate in Nevada in which it was clear they had no credible candidates and they were going to be desperate for ways to beat Trump.