The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has informed Congress it will stop providing in-person briefings on election security and foreign interference, moving instead to written updates.
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe told Congress of the changes saying he believes written briefings will help “ensure, to the maximum extent possible, that ODNI provides the Congress in support in your oversight responsibilities on election security, foreign malign influence an election interference is not misunderstood nor politicized,” in a letter obtained by CBS News and CNN.
“It will also better protect our sources and methods and most sensitive intelligence from additional unauthorized disclosures or misuse,” Ratcliffe wrote.
President Donald Trump on Saturday suggested that Ratcliffe “got tired” of information leaking from his briefings.
“Director Ratcliffe brought information into the committee and the information leaked,” Trump said. “So, he wants to do it in a different form because you have leakers on the committee.”
A senior administration official told CNN that other agencies supporting election security such as the Department of Justice, Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security plan to continue delivering briefings to Congress.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House intelligence committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., issued a joint statement on Saturday condemning the ODNI’s decision.
“This is a shocking abdication of its lawful responsibility to keep Congress currently informed and a betrayal of the public’s right to know how foreign powers are trying to subvert our democracy,” they wrote.
In a tweet Saturday, Schiff also accused Trump of “lying and projecting” in his comments about leaks.
“Trump fired the last DNI for briefing Congress on Russian efforts to help his campaign. Now he’s ending briefings altogether,” Schiff said. “Trump doesn’t want the American people to know about Russia’s efforts to aid his re-election.”
Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer said Ratcliffe had “made clear he’s in the job only to protect Trump from democracy, not democracy from Trump.”
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