Appearing on “This Week” with George Stephanopolous, White House National Security adviser Robert O’Brien rejected reports that there is clear evidence that Russia is trying to help Trump get elected.
TheHill reports “I haven’t seen any intelligence that Russia is doing anything to attempt to get President Trump reelected,” O’Brien said in an interview with ABC “This Week” to be broadcast on Sunday. “I think this is the same old story that we’ve heard before… We’ve been very tough on Russia and we’ve been great on election security. So I think it’s a non-story.”
A senior intelligence official earlier this month briefed a bipartisan group of House lawmakers and said that Russia had a “developed preference” to reelect Trump, according to reports published last week. Trump reportedly lashed out at Joseph Maguire, then his acting director of national intelligence, after the briefing, claiming that his staff had shown disloyalty by speaking to Congress about the issue.
The president has repeatedly dismissed the intelligence in the ensuing days, tweeting on Friday that the news was “another misinformation campaign” being launched by the Democrats in Congress.
ABC’s George Stephanopolous consistently pressed O’Brien about the recent reports, at one point asking whether Shelby Pierson, the official who offered the intelligence, was lying. O’Brien demurred, before later stating that Republican lawmakers who were briefed told him “that there was zero intelligence that was proffered to them to support that sort of comment.”
He then doubled down, stating that he has not seen any intelligence suggesting Russia is interfering in 2020 to help Trump.
“What I’m saying is I have not seen that analysis. No one’s briefed me on it, including the leadership of the [intelligence community],” O’Brien said, describing the news reports about Russian interference as “leaks” and stating that no leaders in the intelligence community have similar analysis.
Pushed on whether he’s asked for the intelligence on Russia, O’Brien said, “I’d be happy to take a look at it; I just haven’t seen it.”
In a separate appearance on “Face the Nation” O’Brien disputed the claim that Joseph Maguire pushed out as Director of National Intelligence and defended the pick of Richard Grennell as his acting replacement.