Trump spokesman lashes out at journalists for asking for evidence behind Nevada fraud case: ‘You’re here to take in information’

Mr Grenell served as Director of National Intelligence for less than six months. 

Graig Graziosi
Thursday 05 November 2020 19:31 GMT
Trump campaign attacks journalists at Las Vegas press conference
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During a Trump campaign press conference in Nevada on Thursday, former acting Director of US National Intelligence Richard Grenell - who refused to identify himself to reporters - accused the state of covering up incidents of voter fraud in order to help the election prospects of Democratic challenger Joe Biden

These claims were made without evidence, and Mr Grenell refused to answer questions from journalists who demanded he prove his assertions.  

When local reporters asked Mr Grenell and conservative political activist Matt Schlapp to identify themselves, Mr Grenell interrupted and told them they were "here to take in information."

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Laughter erupted from the press gaggle before the reporters continued pushing for the men's names.

"Do your jobs, it's pretty easy," Mr Grenell said.  

Asking for sources to identify themselves and asking follow up questions is a core component of a journalist's job.

Mr Grenell served as an interim director of National Intelligence between February and May. During that time, he was criticised for not having enough experience in intelligence to justify his office. The criticisms were highlighted when Mr Grenell declined to attend a congressional hearing on election security, "citing apprehension about his preparedness to address sensitive subjects that tend to upset the president."  

Prior to his role in the Trump administration, Mr Grenell was a vocal supporter of Mr Trump. He played down the possibility of Russian interference in the 2016 election, handwaving them away by saying "Russian-approved tactics like cyber warfare and campaigns of misinformation have been happening for decades."  

Mr Grenell and Mr Schlapp brought up a woman who claimed her and her roommate's ballots had been stolen, and another man who claimed he worked in the media but was denied entry to observe Clark County's election count.  

When reporters asked what media outlet he represented, he was whisked away by other members of the Trump campaign before he had the chance to answer.  

Apart from peddling voter fraud conspiracies on behalf of Mr Trump, the overall point of the press conference was to announce that the Trump campaign was launching a federal lawsuit to attempt to stop the counting of "illegal" votes in Nevada.  

Mr Grenell claimed non-residents were voting in the election and that people who were long dead had voted as a result of fraud.  

MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff chased Mr Grenell down as the Trump campaign was attempting to leave the scene of the press conference. Mr Soboroff asked Mr Grenell to provide any evidence backing up any of his claims.  

Mr Grenell told Mr Soboroff that he should be asking his questions to Clark County and refused to defend his claims. The former head of US National Intelligence then ducked into a van to escape the reporter.  

The Nevada press conference was the latest of Mr Trump's legal threats.  

The president spent months making baseless allegations that the 2020 US election would be plagued by voter fraud caused by mail-in ballots and insinuated even then that he would launch a legal challenge to the results. He has numerous times decline to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the election.  

He is now making good on his promise to use legal battles to attempt to maintain his grip on the White House.  

One of those lawsuits - demanding Georgia throw out ballots the campaign claims arrived after 7pm on Tuesday - has already been dismissed by a judge.

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