Pence aide: No sign of Russian help for Trump

By Kelsey Tamborrino

Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, said Sunday there is no intelligence to support reports that the Russians are trying to help Donald Trump win reelection.

"We know that foreign governments have been trying to interfere in elections to try to sow chaos," Short said on “Fox News Sunday.“ "They've been doing that for many years and it's not just limited to Russia, but there's not intelligence that suggests that they're trying to help Trump."

The remark follows a New York Times report that the House Intelligence Committee received a briefing earlier this month warning that Russia is planning to interfere in the 2020 elections in favor of Trump. According to the report, the president lashed out at outgoing director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire over the briefing.

In a tweet, Trump called it "another misinformation campaign" by Democrats.

Short's comment follows similar comments from White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien. O'Brien said on CBS that he had not received a briefing "that says that President Putin is doing anything to try and influence the elections in favor of President Trump."

"We just haven't seen that intelligence," O'Brien said in a "Face the Nation" interview that aired Sunday. "If it's out there, I haven't seen it. I'd be surprised if I haven't seen it."

O'Brien also pushed back against the idea that Maguire was dismissed because of the briefing before the House. "First of all, Joe Maguire wasn't pushed out," O'Brien said on CBS.

“He was acting and his term, I believe, was ending March 11 or March 2, like two weeks from now."

Short also denied on Sunday that Maguire was fired because of the House briefing. "His position is supposed to be completed by March 12,” Short said. “He is not going to be renominated. He, in fact, when his position came on was reluctant to serve in this role. So the administration has been looking for somebody consistently."

Short did say that the president questioned Maguire over the briefing.

"The president did question him because he's saying, 'Why did they get a briefing before I did?’" Short said on “Fox News Sunday.“ "But at the same time the administration has great respect for Adm. Maguire. He's a patriot who served our administration and served our country admirably. The president is looking for another place to have him continue to serve inside the Trump administration."

During the interview, Short instead pointed to House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and accused him of "selective" leaking of information from the House briefing.

"First of all, I think it's disconcerting that the briefing that you mentioned was a classified briefing in the House. That's one of the president's concerns, is that Adam Schiff's committee continues to leak selective information," Short said.

"You're saying it's not true and they leaked it?" Wallace asked.

"No, this is pretty consistent and I think pretty clear. What I'm telling you is that was a classified briefing that shouldn't have been discussed," Short said. "The briefing the president received, the intelligence community has not told us that Russia is trying to reelect Donald Trump."

Appearing on "Meet the Press," Short claimed that the House Intelligence Committee was "intentionally" distorting information.

"What [Trump] believes is that the people leading the House Intelligence Committee, particularly Chairman Schiff, intentionally distort information and leak information that is false."