DHS secretary 'not aware' Putin tried to help Trump win 2016 election

Donna Miller
May 26, 2018

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Tuesday pushed back against a conclusion reached by the intelligence community and the Senate Intelligence Committee - that Russian Federation favored President Donald Trump in its influence campaign during the 2016 election.

"I do not believe I've seen that conclusion that the specific intent was to help President Trump win", she said. "I'm not aware of that", she said.

Shortly afterwards, Nielsen tried to clarify her statement by saying its unclear if Russian Federation had a "specific intent" favoring Trump - based on the actions they took in their 2016 cyber campaign. Last week, the Senate intelligence committee said it agreed with that assessment. "Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency".

She added that she believes that Russia attempted to "disrupt our belief and our understanding of what is happening", and she called Russian interference "an integrity issue".

The unclassified assessment released by top US officials in January 2017 said that Moscow sought to interfere in the election in order to undermine the American democratic process, damage Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMueller moves ahead with Papadopoulos sentencing What's wrong with the Democratic Party?

Tyler Houlton, a DHS spokesman, said shortly after that Nielsen was familiar with the 2017 assessment.

McConnell also refused to weigh in on whether he thought it was appropriate for Trump to intervene in a Department of Justice investigation ― especially one concerning him and his 2016 presidential campaign.

The report was the first piece of public intelligence issued by the United States government on Russian meddling.

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Indeed, the ongoing investigation of Russia's meddling in the 2016 USA election has made it hard for Trump to wrap his arms around Putin.

"House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they would not support a bipartisan statement that might hurt their nominee for president", Clapper writes in an excerpt of the book published by NPR.

"The Secretary has previously reviewed the Intelligence Community's assessment and agrees with it - as she stated today and previously".

Later, Raju followed up, asking Nielsen if she has "any disagreement" with the assessment's conclusion "that Putin orchestrated this cyber campaign with the intention of helping Donald Trump".

Some Republicans in Congress have since disputed the findings, with House Intelligence Committee Republicans alleging that the finding was based on poor analysis.

Robert Mueller, then Federal Bureau of Investigation director, and James Clapper, then director of national intelligence (from left), testify during a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on Capitol Hill on March 12, 2013.

"I don't believe our democracy can function for long on lies, particularly when inconvenient and hard facts spoken by the practitioners of truth are dismissed as 'fake news, '" Clapper writes.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Wednesday that President Donald Trump had distorted his words when alleging the intelligence community "spied" on his campaign.

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