U.S. intel chief accuses Congress of exaggerating Russian threat
U.S. President Donald Trump's intelligence chief John Ratcliffe defended his decision to cease in-person Congressional briefings on election security, while Democrats said the move would suppress critical information about foreign election meddling and warned they may subpoena testimony.
Ratcliffe, the president's new director of national intelligence and a close Trump ally, accused U.S. lawmakers of leaking classified information from a July 31 briefing to promote what he called false narratives for political purposes.
"A number of members of Congress went to a number of different publications and leaked classified information, again, for political purposes, to create a narrative that simply isn't true, that somehow Russia is a greater national security threat than China," Ratcliffe told Fox News' Sunday Morning Futures.
Ratcliffe is a former lawmaker who defended Trump during Congressional probes into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election.
Democratic lawmakers accused Ratcliffe of trying to block them from questioning intelligence officials in a bid to conceal information on how Russia has been interfering in the 2020 presidential election to help Trump, as it did in 2016.
"You can say things in a written report that are not correct, and you can't be subject to questioning about it," Representative Adam Schiff, Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN's State of the Union program.
"When you can hide behind documents or withhold documents and not have to answer questions about it, it lets you conceal the truth. And in this case, concealing the truth is concealing Russians are again intervening to help the president in his re-election," Reuters cited him as saying.