Pence Aide Struggles To Justify Trump’s Lack Of Concern Towards Russian Interference

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 19: Marc Short, Chief of Staff to Vice President Mike Pence, takes a phone call as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks a meet and greet with NYPD officers and personnel at NYPD headquarters... NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 19: Marc Short, Chief of Staff to Vice President Mike Pence, takes a phone call as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks a meet and greet with NYPD officers and personnel at NYPD headquarters on September 19, 2019 in New York City. During his visit at NYPD headquarters, Pence received a briefing on current terrorism threats, met with senior law enforcement officials and spoke to NYPD officers and personnel during a meet and greet. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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February 23, 2020 4:43 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short struggled to provide a straightforward response Sunday when pressed on President Trump’s reaction to reports of Russia’s interference in the 2020 presidential election to benefit his re-election.

When asked by MSNBC’s Chuck Todd of “Meet the Press” whether Trump believes that Russia is trying to interfere in the 2020 election, Short said that “Russia and other nations have consistently tried to interfere in American elections.”

“The question that I think is out in some of the fake news media was an assertion that Russia was intentionally trying to help Donald Trump,” Short said. “That’s different than four nations consistently looking to undermine America’s democracy. They always try to do that.”

Todd then pointed out how Trump has called the reports a “disinformation campaign” and asked if he believes his intel officials are passing on disinformation to him. Short denied that is Trump’s belief, before saying that what “he believes is that the people leading the House Intelligence Committee, particularly Chairman Schiff, intentionally distort information and leak information that is false.”

After Todd mentioned that the information didn’t come from the House Intelligence Committee but from intelligence officials, Short said that he attended the classified briefing earlier this month when intelligence officials warned House lawmakers of Russian interference and didn’t recall “an assertion that Russia is trying to benefit” Trump.

Short then went on the defensive when Todd said that he didn’t understand why the President isn’t concerned about Russian interference itself.

“Concerned, Chuck? How about the media covering the fact that in 2018, when Donald Trump was president, we had midterm elections that went off without a hitch?” Short said. “In 2016, when there was interference, it was under the Obama administration’s regime.”

Watch Short’s remarks on MSNBC below:

Short also appeared on “Fox News Sunday” where he argued that Trump went after Democrats after the reports because of the lack of intelligence saying that Russians were trying to help his re-election.

“I think that there’s not intelligence that said that the Russians were trying to help Donald Trump win election,” Short said. “We know that foreign government has been trying to interfere in elections to try to soak chaos, it’s not just limited to Russia, there’s not intelligence that is trying to help Trump.”

After Short touted the administration’s sanctions on Russia, Wallace pointed to the reports of the classified briefing earlier this month saying that intelligence official Shelby Pierson told House lawmakers that Russians are trying to help Trump’s re-election. Wallace added that Trump’s reaction was to fire Pierson’s boss, acting DNI chief Joseph Maguire, before asking Short if he’s saying that none of that happened.

“Let me correct you on several fronts. First of all, I think it’s disconcerting that the briefing that you mentioned was a classified briefing in the House,” Short said. “That’s one of the President’s concern that [Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-CA)] committee continue to leak selective information.”

When Wallace responded that he “can’t say it didn’t happen,” Short responded by refusing to comment on what Pierson said exactly.

Watch Short’s remarks on “Fox News Sunday” below:

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