Former U.S Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said Friday that intelligence concerning Russian interference in the 2020 presidential election should be declassified and made public so that American voters can judge for themselves what’s happening.
He also suggested that House Democrats should consider holding weekly hearings on the threat with Richard Grenell, the new acting director of the Department of National Intelligence.
McFaul said it’s no surprise that Russia is again interfering this election season in a bid to sway the vote for Trump — as American intelligence discovered in the 2016 election.
“It is an intelligence assessment that Putin seeks Donald Trump’s victory again,” McFaul told Nicolle Wallace on MSNBC’s “Deadline White House.” “To me, that’s no great insight ... [it’s] very clear.”
But what needs to be disseminated is what “concrete” steps that Russia, under President Vladimir Putin, may be taking to help make that happen, he added. “Let’s just start declassifying this stuff” before the November election “so the American people know what’s going on. That’s what the Obama administration was criticized for not doing in 2016.”
McFaul also warned of the extreme danger of the “politicization of intelligence.” If all intelligence is “filtered through partisan politics, that means that the president is not getting an accurate picture of the threats out there, whether it’s pandemics, or nuclear weapons or terrorist attacks,” he added.
Joseph Maguire was ousted this week as DNI acting director because Trump was reportedly furious that one of Maguire’s deputies briefed the House Intelligence Committee last week that Russia was again meddling in the presidential campaign in Trump’s favor. At a Las Vegas campaign rally Friday, Trump blasted the latest Russian revelation as Democratic “disinformation” — even though it’s based on information discovered by his own intelligence community.
ProPublica reported Friday that Maguire’s replacement, Grenell, a fierce Trump loyalist, worked in 2016 as a consultant for a Moldovan politician later accused of corruption by the U.S. Grenell also failed to notify the U.S. that he was working on behalf of a foreign politician, in apparent violation of the law, according to the online investigative publication.
Check out the video above to hear McFaul discuss Russia and the presidential campaign beginning at 8:15.