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Iran Press TV

US intelligence told lawmakers of Russian effort to boost Trump

Iran Press TV

Friday, 21 February 2020 2:42 AM

US intelligence officials claim that Russia is interfering in the 2020 presidential campaign by trying to boost President Donald Trump's reelection, a report says.

Reuters said in a report Thursday that the officials had informed US lawmakers of the matter last week and also claimed that Moscow was attempting to cast doubt on the integrity of the vote too.

"The Republicans responded as you would expect. They went nuts," Reuters quoted a person familiar with the briefing as saying. "They questioned the intelligence."

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said that Trump's Republican allies on the Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee put into the question the evaluation presented by officials of the Office of National Intelligence last Thursday.

During the classified briefing, the US intelligence officials said Russia was working to throw doubt on the integrity of the Nov. 3 vote while at the same time boosting Republican Trump's election.

"They (the Russians) are favoring one candidate while they do it," said the person, noting the briefers identified that candidate as Trump.

Meanwhile, The New York Times has reported that Trump reprimanded acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire for permitting his staff to be present before the committee.

On Wednesday, Trump said he was replacing Maguire on an acting basis with Richard Grenell, one of his strong loyalists who has worked as ambassador to Germany since 2018.

In reprimanding Maguire, Trump cited the presence in the briefing of Democratic Representative Adam Schiff, the intelligence panel chairman, according to The Times.

Schiff is the one who led the House impeachment proceedings against Trump on charges including abuse of power and obstruction of Congress which resulted from the president's dealings with Ukraine.

Trump, however, was acquitted of the charges by the Republican-controlled Senate last month.

According to The Washington Post, Trump rebuked Maguire in an Oval Office meeting after a Republican ally had told the president about the election security briefing.

US officials have repeatedly claimed that Russia and other countries would seek to interfere in the 2020 US presidential election campaign.

Russia has denied US allegations that it sought to meddle in the 2016 presidential election, which led to victory of a billionaire reality TV star.

There were also allegations that Trump also colluded with the Kremlin to gain favor against political rival Hillary Clinton, triggering an investigation into the matter by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mueller, however, concluded in his report that there was no collusion between Trump and the Russian government.

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