Ratcliffe defends stopping election briefings, accuses members of Congress of leaking classified information

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National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe defended his decision to cut in-person briefings on election security in Congress in favor of written reports and accused members of Congress of releasing information “within minutes” of information sessions.

Ratcliffe told “Sunday Morning Futures” that he went above and beyond in the briefing “not only the oversight committees, but all members of Congress” but he will no longer do it.

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“Within minutes of one of these briefings, a number of members of Congress took to various media outlets and leaked classified information for political purposes,” Ratcliffe told host Maria Bartiromo. “To create a narrative that just isn’t true, that Russia is somehow a greater threat to national security than China. “

Ratcliffe testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 5, 2020 (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik, Pool)

“I don’t want to belittle Russia. They pose a serious threat to national security, but day in and day out, the threats we face from China are much greater, ”Ratcliffe said. “Anyone who says otherwise is only politicizing intelligence for their own account. ”

Ratcliffe told lawmakers on Friday that his office “will primarily fulfill its obligation to keep Congress fully and currently informed ahead of the presidential election through finished written intelligence products.” He wrote that this would better protect sources and methods while ensuring it reflects “the highest analytical standards.”

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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Accused the Trump administration of pushing a false narrative to downplay Russian interference in the 2020 election.

“They’re going to put it in writing now instead of making an oral presentation. It makes no sense unless the goal is not to allow members of Congress, the representatives of the American people, to ask questions, ”Schiff said. CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.

“To hide the truth is to hide the Russians are intervening again to help the president in his re-election,” Schiff said.

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Other critics of the ODNI’s decision were quick to say that the Trump administration was playing Russia’s game.

“President Trump hopes that Vladimir Putin will once again strengthen his candidacy and cover up his terrible failures to lead our country through the multiple crises we face. And he doesn’t want the American people to know the steps Vladimir Putin is taking to help Trump get re-elected, ”Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said in a statement.

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This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Fox News’s Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

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