Trump Intel Chief Defends Briefings Ban, Democrats Raise Subpoena Threat

U.S. President Donald Trump’s intelligence chief on Sunday defended his decision to cease in-person Congressional briefings on election security, while Democrats said the move would suppress critical information about foreign election meddling and warned they may subpoena testimony.

John Ratcliffe, the president’s new director of national intelligence and a close Trump ally, accused U.S. lawmakers of leaking classified information from a July 31 briefing to promote what he called false narratives for political purposes.

“A number of members of Congress went to a number of different publications and leaked classified information, again, for political purposes, to create a narrative that simply isn’t true, that somehow Russia is a greater national security threat than China,” Ratcliffe told Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures.

Ratcliffe is a former lawmaker who defended Trump during Congressional probes into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election.

Democratic lawmakers accused Ratcliffe of trying to block them from questioning intelligence officials in a bid to conceal information on how Russia has been interfering in the 2020 presidential election to help Trump, as it did in 2016.

“You can say things in a written report that are not correct, and you can’t be subject to questioning about it,” Representative Adam Schiff, Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN’s State of the Union program.

“When you can hide behind documents or withhold documents and not have to answer questions about it, it lets you conceal the truth. And in this case, concealing the truth is concealing Russians are again intervening to help the president in his re-election,” he said.

Schiff denied leaking any classified information from the July briefing.

“I haven’t, my staff hasn’t. I can’t speak for what all the members of the committee have done or not done, including a lot of the Republican members,” he said.

The intelligence community has warned that Russia is trying to “denigrate” Trump’s 2020 Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, and that Iran and China are also trying to sow disinformation. Schiff vowed he would “compel” the intelligence community to hand over information to Congress on the threat, including potentially through the use of subpoenas.

Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, a former presidential candidate, told ABC’s “This Week” that Ratcliffe’s decision was an “outrage” at a time when multiple foreign governments were trying to “break into” the Nov. 3 election, and that it was “crazy” that the House may be forced to subpoena him.

However, Senator Ron Johnson, Republican chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, played down the significance of Ratcliffe’s decision when speaking with CNN’s “State of the Union” program, saying that the Democratic response had been “blown so way out of proportion.”

A bipartisan investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee found this month that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election to help Trump at the direction of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

(Reporting by David Morgan; editing by Michelle Price and Bill Berkrot)

Responses

  1. Scotty the Imp, play on words is not fact but I know you don’t or ever will understand that.

  2. “yes I do need more evidence” Lying Paul The Emeffer

    Yeah, right. When did you ever start believing “the truth” after something was pointed out to you by someone on IJR? Cite an example.

  3. Paul, The suggestion that you assert that written reports of FACTS are not subject to interpretation is in direct conflict with what Trump and Trumpers have done for the last 4+ years.
    Let’s start with a short form BC–then you needed a long form BC, and still “interpreted them to read Obama was born in Kenya.
    Obama’s Economic reports were “interpreted” as “phony.”
    Benghazi reports were “interpreted” as “well, the next investigation will prove the conspiracies.”
    Horowitz report found “no political motivation” in the opening of investigation of the Trump campaign’s numerous contacts with Russians—yet political motivation is still asserted by Trumpers to this day.
    Mueller Report indicates 140 Trump campaign contacts with Russians and over 10 instances of Trump Obstruction of Justice—yet Trump & Trumpers interpret it to read “No collusion. No obstruction.”
    Declassified intel reports indicating “Ukraine has the DNC server” and “Ukraine hacked Clinton’s emails.” WAS RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA–yet Republicans, including Rep Nunes, ranking member of the House Intel Committee, touted the propaganda as factual!!

    Do YOU need more evidence? I can go back to the Starr Report and Trumpers still asserting idiotic conspiracies concerning Vince Foster’s death, Juanita Brodderick’s rape allegation, etc….

  4. Phyllis not hard to figure out.
    Written reports give FACTS not something that can be interpreted in different ways by individuals and added to or parsed with an individual’s fantasies. Everyone gets the same message and if someone interprets it to their fancy it makes them look like a fool.

  5. Is anyone understanding the logic of how stopping “in-person” briefings would stop leaks? A representative of DNI is to provide WRITTEN reports. I am guessing this “solution” was devised by the same “stable genius” that decided that a SYMBOL of security would stop illegal entry at legal points of entry.

  6. People in these briefings should be periodically tested individually. Tell individuals individually something far fetched and see if it leaks out and they make a fool of themselves. I did it when I worked with some leakers and it works great. You find out who the leakers are and keep them out of the meetings.

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