President Donald Trump went off on his acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire over perceived disloyalty by his staff — scotching the DNI's chance of becoming a permanent intelligence chief, The Washington Post reported.
Trump replaced Maguire on Wednesday with Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, a vocal loyalist.
According to the Post, Trump learned Maguire staffer Shelby Pierson gave a classified briefing last Thursday to the House Intelligence Committee regarding election security.
Trump appeared to erroneously believe she had given information specifically to committee chair Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., that would be beneficial to Democrats if made public, the Post reported.
Trump was furious and blamed Maguire when they met the day afterward, the Post reported.
A committee official told the Post the briefing concerned "election security and foreign interference in the run-up to the 2020 election."
"Members on both sides participated, including ranking member [Devin] Nunes, and heard the exact same briefing from experts across the intelligence community," the committee official told the Post. "No special or separate briefing was provided to one side or to any single member, including the chairman."
Pierson was initially appointed in 2019 by then-DNI Dan Coats, who left the White House the same year, and had frequently disagreed with the president on the extent of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the threat of future interference.
Grenell tweet Thursday the president would nominate a permanent DNI "soon," and it would not be him. A senior White House official told the Post a permanent nominee would be announced before March 11.
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