The Director of National Intelligence said Sunday he is ending in-person security briefings to minimize ‘leaking’ and ‘politicization’ of classified information as Adam Schiff claims the move is just an effort from the Trump administration to ‘conceal the truth.’
‘Within minutes of one of those briefings ending, a number of members of Congress went to a number of different outlets and leaked classified information for political purposes,’ DNI John Ratcliffe told Fox News’ ‘Sunday Morning Futures’ host Maria Bartiromo.
He claimed lawmakers were using the information ‘to create a narrative that simply isn’t true – that somehow Russia is a greater national security threat than China.’
‘I don’t mean to minimize Russia,’ Ratcliffe said. ‘They are a serious national security threat. But day in, day out, the threats that we face from China are significantly greater.’
‘Anyone who says otherwise is just politicizing intelligence for their own narrative,’ he added.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, one of the lawmakers who used to sit in on those briefings, pushed back against Ratcliffe’s claims during an interview with CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ on Sunday.
He also accused the Trump administration of pushing for the move in order to downplay Russian interference in the 2020 election.
‘They’re going to put it in writing now instead of giving an oral briefing. That doesn’t make any sense unless the goal is not to allow members of Congress, the representatives of the American people, to ask questions,’ Schiff told CNN Sunday morning.
‘Concealing the truth is concealing Russians are again intervening to help the president in his reelection,’ the California representative said.
Democratic nominee Joe Biden released a statement Saturday claiming ‘President Trump is hoping Vladimir Putin will once more boost his candidacy and cover his horrific failures to lead our country through the multiple crises we are facing.’
‘And he does not want the American people to know the steps Vladimir Putin is taking to help Trump get re-elected,’ he added.
Biden also vowed Saturday during a virtual address to the National Guard Associations 142nd General Conference that, if elected, he would never use the military ‘as a prop or private militia,’ accusing Trump of violating citizens’ rights by using military force to respond to violent riots.
Speaking to the crowd from a remote location, Biden said he was alarmed that Trump had deployed federal forces to Chicago, Albuquerque and Portland amid periods of civil unrest.
He also expressed concern about the language the President had used in regard to the National Guard. Back in June, Trump tweeted that governors should order their military reserve forces to ‘dominate the streets’ during unruly protests.
‘We’re so much better than this. You deserve so much better,’ Biden stated on Saturday.
The former Vice President also promised to restore the separation between civilian and military powers which he called ‘the bedrock principal of our republic.’
‘It’s been tested lately, but I promise you, as president, I’ll never put you in the middle of politics or personal vendettas’.
Biden also claimed his family were a ‘National Guard family’, and referenced the fact that his late son, Beau, had served in the Delaware Army National Guard.
Biden’s address came a day after Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress that the armed forces will have no role in carrying out the election process or resolving a disputed vote.
It was a sign of rising tensions on both sides as the president has declared that the expected surge in mail-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic will make the vote ‘inaccurate and fraudulent.’
Trump has also suggested he might not accept the election results if he loses.
Biden has said he’s ‘absolutely convinced’ the military would escort Trump from the White House if the incumbent lost but refused to leave.
Also on Saturday, Biden’s camp were outraged over the Trump administration’s decision to end in-person election security briefings to Congress less than three months before Americans head to the polls.
President Donald Trump said National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe made the decision because the administration ‘got tired’ of intelligence about election security leaking from Congress.
‘They leaked the information … and what’s even worse, they leaked the wrong information and we got tired of it,’ Trump told reporters while attending a briefing on Hurricane Laura in Orange, Texas.
In a statement provided to MSNBC’S Kyle Griffin, Biden’s rep admonished the President – particularly amid fears foreign adversaries could increase their meddling prior to the election.
‘For his admin to constrain the info being provided to the peoples’ representatives in Congress as this national security threat multiplies—especially given Donald Trump’s unprecedented welcoming of these assaults on our democracy for his own gain—is deeply alarming,’ the Biden camp stated.