A variety of good reporting yesterday painted a picture that's coming into focus. For example, it now appears that a senior U.S. intelligence official, Shelby Pierson, briefed House lawmakers on Russian efforts to target our elections and help Donald Trump. A day later, the president, furious about the briefing -- but not about the Russian attack -- upbraided his acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire.
A week later, Trump replaced Maguire with Ric Grenell, putting a partisan loyalist in a position to oversee the U.S. intelligence community, despite the fact that Grenell has never served a day in the intelligence community in any capacity.
Among the lingering questions: how exactly did the president know what was said during the intelligence briefing to members of Congress? The Washington Post, in a report that hasn't been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, added an interesting tidbit along these lines.
Trump learned about Pierson's remarks from Rep. Devin Nunes (Calif.), the committee's ranking Republican and a staunch Trump ally, said one person familiar with the matter. Trump's suspicions of the intelligence community have often been fueled by Nunes, who was with the president in California on Wednesday when he announced on Twitter that Grenell would become the acting director, officials said.
A couple of years ago, Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) appeared on MSNBC and addressed the fact that Nunes -- then the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee -- appeared a little too eager to use his office to help the Republican White House.
"You have to keep in mind who [Nunes] works for," Yoho said at the time. "He works for the president and answers to the president."
The Florida congressman's office later said Yoho "misspoke" during the interview, though there are occasional questions about whether his initial assessment was the correct one.