On Tuesday, congressional briefings were held on matters pertaining to election security — but President Donald Trump was far from impressed by the fact that the man who led the House impeachment effort against him was a key participant.
“There is another Russia, Russia, Russia meeting today,” Trump complained via Twitter, according to The Hill. “It is headed up by corrupt politician Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff, so I wouldn’t expect too much!”
Schiff pushes back
The House Intelligence Committee chairman soon shot back with a tweet of his own.
“Mr. President, you are wrong. As usual,” Schiff wrote. “Today’s briefing for all House Members focuses on the threat of foreign interference in our election.
“The briefers are agency heads and senior officials. They are your own people. We will insist on the truth, whether you like it or not,” the congressman from California added.
According to The Hill, the briefings arose from a February report suggesting that the Russian government was attempting to support both Trump’s re-election efforts as well as Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Democratic primary campaign.
Grenell denies involvement
The New York Times reported that former acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire stepped down from his position after the president became aware that he had been responsible for briefing Schiff along with other members of the House Intelligence Committee on issues related to potential Russian election meddling.
Maguire has since been replaced by Richard Grenell, and his office tweeted a statement denying that Grenell would be involved with Schiff’s Tuesday briefing.
“FBI and DHS are the lead in charge of securing our elections, and the IC [intelligence community] is participating in today’s briefings in support of that mission,” the statement read. “The IC is focused on detecting and countering foreign election-related threats.”
“Several media outlets are erroneously reporting that Acting DNI Grenell backed out of participating in today’s Congressional briefings on election security,” a subsequent tweet explained.
Sanders, for his part, has disavowed Russian support for his candidacy, telling Axios, “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.”
He added: “My message to Putin is clear: stay out of American elections, and as president, I will make sure that you do.”