| February 22, 2020 08:59 PM
National security adviser Robert O’Brien disputed reports on intelligence officials warning House lawmakers of Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2020 presidential election to the benefit of President Trump.
Details from a secretive briefing given to the House Intelligence Committee leaked this week alleging that legislators were told that “Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump reelected.” O’Brien, however, said that he hasn’t seen any intelligence reports corroborating the claim during a Saturday interview with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulos.
“I haven’t seen any intelligence that Russia is doing anything to attempt to get President Trump reelected,” O’Brien said, calling the rumor a “nonstory.”
“I think this is the same old story that we’ve heard before,” he said. “Our message to the Russians is: Stay out of the U.S. elections. We’ve been very tough on Russia, and we’ve been great on election security.”
When pressed on whether it is his “responsibility” to get to the bottom of the reports, the Trump administration official said, “You’re basing your assumptions, George, on leaks that came out of a House Intelligence Committee hearing. I haven’t seen the intel, and I haven’t seen that analysis.”
He added, “I want to get whatever analysis they’ve got, and I want to make sure that the analysis is solid. From what I’ve heard, again, this is only what I’ve seen in the press, it doesn’t make any sense. … But look, if there’s someone from the intel community that has something different, I’d be happy to take a look at it. I just haven’t seen it.”
O’Brien’s interview came on the heels of reports that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence told House lawmakers that Russia is meddling in the election in an effort to assist Trump. The president, along with another national security official, has denied the reports.
“Another misinformation campaign is being launched by Democrats in Congress saying that Russia prefers me to any of the Do Nothing Democrat candidates who still have been unable to, after two weeks, count their votes in Iowa,” Trump said Friday. “Hoax number 7!”
Additional reports broke this week that Sen. Bernie Sanders was told by American officials that the Kremlin is trying to help his campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
“Let’s be clear, the Russians want to undermine American democracy by dividing us up, and unlike the current president, I stand firmly against their efforts, and any other foreign power that wants to interfere in our election,” the Vermont senator responded. “I don’t care, frankly, who Putin wants to be president. My message to Putin is clear: Stay out of American elections, and as president, I will make sure that you do.”