Day After Dem Debate, Headlines Warn, 'Russia Is Meddling to Re-elect Trump'

Susan Jones | February 21, 2020 | 7:05am EST
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President Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland in July 2018. (Photo by Chris McGrath/AFP via Getty Images)
President Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland in July 2018. (Photo by Chris McGrath/AFP via Getty Images)

( - Here we go again with Russian meddling. The day after a widely panned debate by the Democrat presidential hopefuls, the headline in The New York Times reads: "Lawmakers Are Warned That Russia Is Meddling to Re-elect Trump."

According to the newspaper:

Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected, five people familiar with the matter said, a disclosure to Congress that angered Mr. Trump, who complained that Democrats would use it against him.

The day after the Feb. 13 briefing to lawmakers, the president berated Joseph Maguire, the outgoing acting director of national intelligence, for allowing it to take place, people familiar with the exchange said. Mr. Trump was particularly irritated that Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the leader of the impeachment proceedings, was at the briefing.

During the briefing to the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Trump’s allies challenged the conclusions, arguing that he had been tough on Russia and that he had strengthened European security.

It's not clear how the Russians are currently "interfering," but according to the New York Times report, instead of "impersonating" Americans, "Russian operatives are working to get Americans to repeat disinformation," including on social media. No one's saying what kind of "disinformation."

Liberal media outlets are using the report to already cast doubt on the legitimacy of Trump's re-election, should he win again in November.

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the House intelligence committee, was at the Feb. 13 intelligence briefing that Democrats leaked to the New York Times, and he calls the report "idiotic."

"It's never going to stop because they don't have any other issues, it seems like," Nunes told Fox News's Laura Ingraham Thursday night.

This is the same play that they run over and over again. It's like the old famous movie "Groundhog Day." For three-and-a-half years, we wake up and see the same old thing."

Nunes said he doesn't think anyone is buying it:

"I just left a huge Republican dinner here in the San Juaquin Valley of California. President Trump was out here yesterday. There was actually a joke tonight -- everybody was talking about how the new thing is, 'oh, they're back to Russia again.' Nobody's going to believe this garbage."

Nunes said he thinks the Democrats who leaked to the press were infuriated by Trump's decision to name Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell as the Acting Director of National Intelligence. (Trump said he'd be nominating a permanent replacement for the outgoing DNI Joseph Maguire "very soon," and as of Friday morning, speculation focused on Rep. Doug Collins.)

But Trump critics fumed that Grenell is a partisan operative, a political stooge, who knows nothing about national intelligence.

Nunes said the established bureaucracy does not want Grenell, "because he's not one of them and they know that they can't control Ambassador Grenell. And that's been one of the problems throughout the whole deep state of affairs that we've been dealing with for three-and-a-half years.

"If you actually say something like, hey, we've got some dirty cops here and there might be a problem with the FISA, or the whole thing is a hoax, or the Mueller people wrote a bunch of garbage, if you say any of that you are immediately a denier. But the fact of the matter is that these guys have lost their mind, okay?

"Vladimir Putin is not running some operation with Donald Trump, there's no evidence of that, and so all this is is they don't have anything to run on and so they've got to make up Russia again," Nunes said.


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