House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff on Sunday accused Attorney General William Barr of lying about intelligence related to foreign interference in the upcoming presidential election.
In an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union,” Schiff was asked about Barr’s claim from last week’s interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that China is interfering with the election more than Russia.
“That’s just a plain, false statement by the Attorney General. A flat-out false statement,” Schiff said, maintaining, “you can tell that Bill Barr is just flat-out lying to the American people, and it’s tragic but it’s as simple as that.”
He added: “It’s just such a disservice to the country that we can’t trust our own attorney general, but apparently Bill Barr is willing to do anything or say anything to help Donald Trump.”
CNN has reached out to the Department of Justice for comment.
Schiff’s comments come after news last week of an intelligence bulletin issued by the Department of Homeland Security that warns that Russia is attempting to sow doubt about the integrity of the 2020 elections by amplifying false claims related to mail-in voting resulting in widespread fraud, assertions that have been repeatedly pushed by President Donald Trump.
“We assess that Russia is likely to continue amplifying criticisms of vote-by-mail and shifting voting processes amidst the COVID-19 pandemic to undermine public trust in the electoral process,” the bulletin reads.
That news came one day after Barr’s interview with Blitzer, in which he downplayed Russia’s well-documented attempts to help Trump in presidential elections, including in this election cycle, instead pointing the finger at China despite the fact that intelligence agencies have not said Beijing is actively meddling in the election.
“Because I’ve seen the intelligence. That’s what I’ve concluded,” Barr said.
Still, the bulletin adds to the well-documented body of evidence that Russia is again interfering in a US presidential election and also clearly indicates Moscow is tailoring its messaging to amplify false narratives that benefit the Trump campaign.
Last month, the US intelligence community’s top election security official said in a statement Russia is working to “denigrate” former Vice President Joe Biden’s White House bid, yet in the weeks since, Trump and senior members of his administration have attempted to cast the President as the victim of foreign interference by cherry-picking intelligence to suggest China is attempting to hurt his campaign.
CNN’s Zachary Cohen contributed to this report.