US intelligence agencies say Russia interfered in the 2016 election through social media campaigns and stealing and distributing emails from Democratic accounts. They say Russia was trying to boost Trump’s campaign and add chaos to the American political process.
Special counsel Robert Mueller concluded that Russian interference was “sweeping and systematic” but he did not find a criminal conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign. Trump has doubted the findings of Russian interference.
In the House briefing, Trump’s allies challenged the director of national intelligence’s chief election official, Shelby Pierson, who delivered the conclusions, saying Trump has been tough on Russia, the Times reported.
But Trump has also spoken warmly of Russian leader Vladimir Putin and withdrawn troops from areas, like Syria, where Moscow could fill the vacuum. He delayed military aid last year to Ukraine, a Russian adversary – a decision that was at the core of his impeachment proceedings.
The Times said Trump was angry that the House briefing was made before the panel’s chairman, Democrat Adam Schiff, who led the impeachment proceedings.
Trump on Thursday formally appointed Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany and a loyal supporter, to replace Maguire.