August 31, 2020

Sen. Angus King and former CIA Director John Brennan appeared on Morning Joe today to discuss a new development in the story of DNI intelligence briefings to Congress. Last week, we found out they would no longer provide in-person briefings to Congress on election security and foreign interference in the election.

"New reporting by NBC News says that the FBI and DHS plan to brief Congress on cyber threats to election security and disinformation, but not on the plans and intentions of foreign adversaries," Mika Brzezinski said.

In a statement to NBC news, the FBI said they were committed to keeping Congress informed on election security and malign foreign influence threats. "Protecting our elections remains a top priority for the FBI. We decline to comment further."

Marco Rubio, who is the acting chair of the Senate intelligence committee, blames the situation on "the willingness of some to commit federal crimes for the purpose of advancing their electoral aims," but also said the leaks should not "release the intelligence community from the legal obligation to brief Congress."

"The clearest way i can put it, if you took everything you just said and strike the word Congress and insert the American people, that's who's getting used in this information," Sen. Angus King said.

"If the intelligence community learns that our election is being manipulated with by a foreign government they would tell Congress and through them the American people. Who do these people work for in the intelligence community? My vote is, they work for you and me, they don't work for the president. Their oath is to the Constitution, not any particular president."

Former CIA chief John Brennan explained the written reports aren't enough to inform Congress members.

"I think as Senator King said, it's important to have the back and forth between our elected legislators and professionals. It's important for our members of Congress to understand fully exactly what foreign nations and intelligence services are doing to interfere in our election," he said.

He called the move by the DNI to cancel or sharply limit the type of interactions with Congress is "very worrisome, consistent with what your previous guest said. It's part of the administration's overall strategy to prevent the flow of information or intelligence to Congress that could be detrimental to Donald Trump.

"It also prevents the full extent of Russia's interference in our election from being known. We know Russia's help in the 2016 election helped Donald Trump get elected. We already know the intelligence services in Russia are trying to denigrate Vice President Biden. And so I think it's just one more indication that Donald Trump will stop at nothing to stay in office beyond 2021. I think they're right to be concerned about what's happening right now with the intelligence community."

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