Trump adviser denies intelligence claims of Russian election meddling

National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien holds the Trump line that Russian election meddling isn't happening

David Maclean
New York
Sunday 23 February 2020 16:31 GMT
National security adviser Robert O'Brien disputes Russian meddling to favour Donald Trump's reelection

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien has denied reports that US intelligence shows Russia is interfering to help Donald Trump win a second term.

But it came with the caveat that he has not looked at or sought out materials related to those reports.

He told ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos that it was a "non-story" adding: "I haven't seen any intelligence that Russia is doing anything to attempt to get President Trump re-elected."

The interview comes shortly after reports emerged that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence told politicians that Russia is meddling in the 2020 race, and trying to put a finger on the scale for the Trump campaign.

But Mr O'Brien said: "I think it's the same old story we've heard before.

"Our message to the Russians is stay out of the US elections.

"We've been very tough on Russia and we've been great on election security."

During a rally in Las Vegas on Friday, Mr Trump said the Democratic Party had tried to "start a rumour".

"It's disinformation. That's the only thing they're good at, they're not good at anything else."

When pressed on whether it was his duty to get to the bottom of such claims, Mr O'Brien said: "You're basing your assumptions, George, on leaks that came out of a House Intelligence Committee hearing. I haven't seen the intel, and I haven't seen that analysis."

Since it was first revealed that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election, US intelligence officials have repeatedly warned about ongoing threats by Russia to interfere in American elections.

Meanwhile The Washington Post has reported that Bernie Sanders has been briefed by US officials about Russian efforts to help his Democratic primary campaign.

Mr O'Brien said: "Well, there are these reports that they want Bernie Sanders to get elected president. That’s no surprise. He honeymooned in Moscow."

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