Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe's decision to stop in-person congressional briefings on election security and foreign interference "looks like a pre-coverup," Sen. Angus King said Monday.
"It looks like they don’t want to share the information," the Maine independent said on CNN's "New Day." "They’re covering up information that may or may not — I don’t know what they’ve got or not or what they have or don’t have, but it looks like they’re trying to keep this information from the public so that when everybody goes to vote on November 3, they won’t know to the extent to which they’ve been attempted to be influenced by the Russians or some other country.”
Sunday, Ratcliffe accused some lawmakers of leaking information "within minutes" of the sit-down meetings and said his briefings had been to "not just the oversight committees, but every member of Congress," and that he's scaling the meetings back to the committees only.
His comments came after CNN reported Saturday that Ratcliffe would not be giving the House and Senate Intelligence Committees in-person briefings, but will instead rely on written updates.
King said that he does not think the intelligence community is behind Ratcliffe's announcement.
"It’s not the intelligence community, John, it’s the director of national intelligence, who was a Republican congressman, a big supporter of President [Donald] Trump," King said. "That’s who’s made this decision ... I’m quite sure there are people in the intelligence community who are astounded and angry about this decision.”
King said he agrees that leaking classified information is a crime, but there are ways to deal with that.
"But I've not yet heard, after three days, of what they allege was leaked that was somehow damaging to national security," said King. "You know, there's this tricky thing with classification, where sometimes things are classified not because they're national security issues, but because they're embarrassing. But I would like to know as a member of the intelligence committee, give me the six things that were leaked that were damaging to national security and we can assess that."
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