Congressional Democrats have subjected the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to criticism over the latter's decision to suspend its in-person election security briefings for US lawmakers over leaks from Congress.
"This is a shocking abdication of its lawful responsibility to keep the Congress currently informed, and a betrayal of the public’s right to know how foreign powers are trying to subvert our democracy", House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said in a joint statement.
For his part, Marco Rubio, a Republican senator and acting chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, argued that "intelligence agencies have a legal obligation to keep Congress informed of their activities", bemoaning the fact that congressional oversight is facing a "historic crisis". Still, the suspension of in-person briefings does not mean that the ODNI will keep US lawmakers in the dark as the intelligence will switch over to written reports to ensure that sensitive information is not "politicised", as Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe explained in his letter to American congressmen.
Dems Still Stick to Debunked Trump-Russia Collusion Story
Ratcliffe's move apparently came in response to a leak from a July all-House classified briefing led by William Evanina, the director of the United States National Counterintelligence and Security Centre. During the meeting Nancy Pelosi and other House Democrats lashed out at Evanina for not providing details about the alleged interference of Russia, China, and Iran in the US 2020 presidential election.
The Democratic Party is sticking to the narrative that Russia allegedly helped Trump win the 2016 elections, something that the two-year long Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation failed to prove. Nevertheless, last week Adam Schiff accused the Trump administration of ending in-person intelligence briefings to "conceal the truth" about Russia's alleged meddling in the 2020 race.
It appears that Ratcliffe wants to ensure that confidential and sensitive information about election security is not leaked to the public as happened to Evanina's briefing, notes David E. Kenney, a California lawyer.
"Whether it was Michelle Obama, [Joe] Biden, or Schiff improving the flow of information, President Trump was furious about exposing the methods and sources", he notes.
The unfolding situation bears a strong resemblance to what occurred four years ago, says Mark Dankof, a US investigative journalist: according to him the Democratic Party lost in 2016 "because they ran a flawed campaign with a lousy candidate" and they are likely to lose again to Trump, "because once again they have nominated a terrible candidate and he does not need Russian help to beat him".
The strategy to use the Russia bogey again after the Democrats wasted $32 million dollars on the Mueller "Russiagate" investigation and came up with absolutely nothing appears doomed, according to the journalist.
Likewise it's ridiculous to make Russia "the chief pariah in foreign interference in American elections", while a lot of questions about the role of Hillary Clinton, Fusion GPS, the FBI and ex-MI6 agent Christopher Steele in the 2016 election cycle still remain unanswered, Dankof believes.
"The real story is the criminal actions of Hillary Clinton, the DNC-linked Fusion GPS group, and John McCain in using Christopher Steele in the UK to produce the so-called Steele Dossier and to employ McCain as the conduit of the dossier to the FBI which subsequently went to the FISA court to obtain extraordinary powers of investigation and surveillance of the alleged Trump-Russia collusion while concealing who and what was behind the production of the document", Dankof adds.
Why Schiff is Shifting Blame for BLM Protests Violence to Russia
According to Dankof, "the Democratic Party’s obsession with Russia is not simply rooted in the scapegoating of the latter for the former’s unassisted and considerable talent for blowing national elections" but also in discontent at Russia's steady economic and political rise.
In addition to this, the Democrats are trying to pin the blame for the instances of violence amid the George Floyd protests on Russia. On Sunday, Schiff asserted to CNN's Dana Bash that it is possible that the Russians exploited Black Lives Matter protests in 2016 and are doing the same right now while Trump is "wilfully fanning the flames of this violence". The House Intelligence chairman did not provide any evidence to back up his assumptions.
The Dems' attempts to shuffle off the blame on to Russia won't help the party as Black Lives Matter and Antifa violent pillaging, arson, and looting in America’s cities may further alienate independent and presently uncommitted voters: it has become evident that the cities most engulfed by violence "have Democratic mayors and are located in states with Democratic governors", he notes.
"Appeasing these Marxist revolutionaries, allowing their own territories to be pillaged, supporting a revolving door criminal justice system for violent felons, and assailing Americans who lawfully defend themselves with weapons and belong to the National Rifle Association (NRA), is a great way to blow another election. And after they do, it will be because of 'The Russians'", Dankof concludes.