Intelligence officials warned lawmakers in a meeting last week that the Russians are continuing their efforts to attack the democratic process and interfere in the 2020 election, and that one prong is aimed at helping re-elect President Trump, a source who attended the meeting confirmed to CBS News.
“The message was, it appears they’re favoring one candidate over another, and everybody should be cautious,” the source said. The New York Times first reported on the briefing, which took place February 13.
This source also confirmed that some of the president’s Republican allies on the House Intelligence Committee, who were also in the meeting, “questioned the validity of the information.” The source also said that the information presented in the meeting wasn’t particularly surprising, since former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats had already warned months ago that when it comes to Russian election interference, “the lights are still flashing red.”
Sources tell CBS News Mr. Trump was furious when he found out about the classified House briefing. He was not informed the briefing would take place and according to one senior administration official “blew his stack” and repeatedly used an expletive.
The Washington Post first reported that Mr. Trump had quarreled with his acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, after intelligence officials briefed lawmakers on the threat of Russian interference. Mr. Trump announced Wednesday that , the current ambassador to Germany, would replace Maguire in the position.
A Congressional source told CBS News “there is absolutely no connection to replacing Maguire and the briefing — Maguire was on the way out anyway.”
Nancy Cordes, Catherine Herridge, Major Garrett, Paula Reid and Grace Segers contributed to this report.