(SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "You know, they're trying to start a rumor.
It's disinformation." After U.S. intelligence officials warned Congress last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 election to help Donald Trump, the president said on Friday that the idea Russia wants him to win re-election was "another misinformation campaign" launched by Democrats.
(SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "They said today that Putin wants to be sure that Trump gets elected.
Here we go again." Since the House Intelligence Committee got the classified briefing saying Russia was again interfering in an American election, Trump has fired his acting Director of National Intelligence, replaced him with a Trump loyalist with no real intelligence experience and told reporters that Republican congressman Doug Collins, who defended Trump throughout the impeachment process, was a top candidate for the full-time post.
(SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. REPRESENTATIVE DOUG COLLINS, SAYING ON JANUARY 15, 2020: "This is a political impeachment." But, on Friday, Collins said he wasn't interested in the job.
Trump’s last full-time director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, resigned in July after differences with the president, who has often cast doubt on intelligence community assessments when they clash with his own views.
(SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF, SAYING ON FEBRUARY 3, 2020: "Can we be confident that he will not continue to try to cheat...?" Just weeks after warning senators Trump would continue to invite or allow foreign election interference, Adam Schiff, the man who prosecuted Trump at his impeachment trial, said in a tweet: "We count on the intelligence community to inform Congress of any threat of foreign interference in our elections.
If reports are true and the President is interfering with that, he is again jeopardizing our efforts to stop foreign meddling.
Exactly as we warned he would do." (SOUND BITE) (English) U.S. REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF, SAYING ON FEBRUARY 3, 2020: "He will not change and you know it." The intelligence officials told the House Intel Committee, chaired by Schiff, that Russia wanted to cast doubt on the integrity of the 2020 election while boosting Trump's chances at a second term.
A Reuters source said Trump's Republican allies were quick to cast doubt on the very idea of fresh Russian meddling.
On Friday, Moscow said the new allegations were false, calling them “more paranoid announcements which, to our regret, will multiply as we get closer to the (U.S.) election.” Russia has also has denied the U.S. intelligence community assessment that it used fake news and cyber attacks to help Trump beat Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, an allegation Trump himself continues to dismiss.
On Friday, Clinton chimed in on the controversy, tweeting: "Putin’s Puppet is at it again, taking Russian help for himself.
He knows he can’t win without it.
And we can’t let it happen." Later on Friday, the Washington Post reported that U.S. officials have told Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders that Russia is attempting to help his campaign in the 2020 election.
In a statement, Sanders said “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."