President Donald Trump’s surprise decision to appoint loyalist Richard Grenell as his next acting Director of National Intelligence came after his previous acting DNI, Joseph Maguire, enraged him by giving an intelligence briefing to House Democrats.
The Washington Post reports that Trump was “furious” at Maguire after learning that Shelby Pierson, the top intelligence official on election security, gave a briefing to the Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)-led House Intelligence Committee.
“It’s unclear what the official, Shelby Pierson, specifically said at the briefing that angered Trump, But the president erroneously believed that she had given information exclusively to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the committee chairman, and it would be helpful to Democrats if released publicly,” the Post reports.
One source tells the Post that Trump gave Maguire a “dressing down” that left the former acting DNI “despondent.”
One House Intelligence Committee official tells the Post, however, that there is no truth to Trump’s suspicions about Pierson giving Schiff secret inside information.
“Members on both sides participated, including Ranking Member Nunes, and heard the exact same briefing from experts across the Intelligence Community,” the official said. “No special or separate briefing was provided to one side or to any single member, including the chairman.”