American intelligence does not indicate that Russia is attempting to help President Donald Trump's re-election campaign, according to a new report.
According to CNN, who spoke with several U.S. intelligence officials, Shelby Pierson, the top election intelligence official, overstated the intelligence community's assessment on Russian interference in the 2020 election during a recent classified briefing with the House Intelligence Committee. She told lawmakers that Russia is attempting to aid Trump's re-election, the New York Times reported last week.
However, the intelligence simply does not indicate that.
"The intelligence doesn't say that," a senior national security official told CNN. "A more reasonable interpretation of the intelligence is not that they have a preference, it's a step short of that. It's more that they understand the President is someone they can work with, he's a dealmaker."
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Pierson's characterization of Russian interference led to pointed questions from lawmakers, which officials said caused Pierson to overstep and assert that Russia has a preference for Trump to be reelected.
One intelligence official said that Pierson's characterization of the intelligence was "misleading" and a national security official said Pierson failed to provide the "nuance" needed to accurately convey the US intelligence conclusions.
Despite these facts, the president's political opponents maintain claims that Trump is a pawn for Russia.
MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, for example, called Trump a "Russian operative" last week, while Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said Sunday that Trump "has been a gift to Russia."
But according to other reports, Trump is not the only candidate for whom Russia has a preference.
The Washington Post reported last week that Russia also has a preference for Sen. Bernie Sanders. The Post noted that Russia does not necessarily favor Trump or Sanders over other candidates — nor are Trump or Sanders colluding with Russia — but that Russia is exploiting Trump and Sanders to operate a massive disinformation campaign.