Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced Friday that he would be halting future briefings to Congress on election security, citing repeated leaks of classified information, as the Washington Examiner reported. The next day, President Donald Trump defended the move and suggested that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) could be to blame for the information getting out.
But while Schiff insisted in an interview with CNN on Sunday that he nor his staff were responsible for the leaks, he seemed to suggest that he couldn’t rule out other members of his panel.
“I haven’t. My staff hasn’t,” Schiff told host Dana Bash of alleged leaks, according to a report from the Washington Examiner. “I can’t speak for what all the members of the committee have done or not done, including a lot of the Republican members.”
“Leakers on the committee”
Schiff’s remarks came after Ratcliffe said in letters to Congress Friday that he would be switching to written forms of communication to relay information about election security to Congress — namely, Schiff’s Intel panel — in an effort to “better protect our sources and methods and most sensitive intelligence from additional unauthorized disclosures or misuse.”
“I believe this approach helps ensure, to the maximum extent possible, that the information ODNI provides the Congress in support of your oversight responsibilities on elections security, foreign malign influence, and election interference is not misunderstood nor politicized,” Ratcliffe wrote, according to Politico.
Speaking in Texas on Saturday, President Trump doubled down on his National Intelligence director’s position.
“Director Ratcliffe brought information into the committee, and the information leaked,” Trump said, as Politico reported. “Whether it was Shifty Schiff or somebody else, they leaked the information… And what’s even worse, they leaked the wrong information.”
The president added: “And [Ratcliffe] got tired of it. So he wants to do it in a different forum, because you have leakers on the committee.”
Dems double down
While Trump has continued to point to Schiff, it remains unclear who exactly is responsible for the leaks. In any case, Democrats like Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) seem to have brushed off concerns about the unauthorized disclosure of government secrets, instead opting to worry about — you guessed it — the Kremlin.
“The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has informed us that it will no longer provide briefings to Members of Congress, including the House and Senate Intelligence committees, on foreign efforts to interfere in our upcoming election,” Pelosi and Schiff wrote in a joint statement on Saturday. “This is a shocking abdication of its lawful responsibility to keep the Congress currently informed, and a betrayal of the public’s right to know how foreign powers are trying to subvert our democracy.”
The pair of Democrats went on: “This intelligence belongs to the American people, not the agencies which are its custodian. And the American people have both the right and the need to know that another nation, Russia, is trying to help decide who their president should be.”
Give me a break.