Russian President Vladimir Putin endorses Trump -- and is already interfering in the election
President Donald Trump's manner with Russian leader Vladimir Putin was in contrast to the anger he flashed at NATO allies. (AFP / Brendan Smialowski)

Russian President Vladimir Putin is backing President Donald Trump's re-election, according to the New York Times.

It was revealed Thursday that one of the reasons President Donald Trump fired his director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, was because he briefed the House Intelligence Committee. Now it's become clear why Trump may not want Democrats to know about that briefing.

"Intelligence officials warned House lawmakers last week that Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected, five people familiar with the matter said, in a disclosure that angered Mr. Trump, who complained that Democrats would use it against him," the Times reported.

Trump allies challenged Maguire's conclusions in the briefing, saying that Trump has been tough on Russia.

"That intelligence official, Shelby Pierson, is an aide to Mr. Maguire who has a reputation of delivering intelligence in somewhat blunt terms," said the Times. "The president announced on Wednesday that he was replacing Mr. Maguire with Richard Grenell, the ambassador to Germany and long an aggressively vocal Trump supporter."

Publicly, however, even Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member of the committee, signed off on a statement calling the Feb. 13 briefing an important update about “the integrity of our upcoming elections."

During a CNN discussion, co-author Maggie Habermann said that one of the presidents has always had a problem with the idea that he didn't win the 2016 election on his own merits and that Russia helped him win.

Read the full report at the New York Times.