Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen revealed on Tuesday she's unfamiliar with the intelligence community's consensus finding that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 presidential election on behalf of President Trump - a finding that was made public in an assessment released 16 months ago.
"I'm not aware of that", Nielsen said, responding to a reporter's question after briefing House members on election security efforts.
Ms. Nielsen's response seemed to suggest she is unfamiliar with the findings reached by the USA intelligence community and published in a January 2017 report, "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections", which accused Mr. Putin of trying to help the 2016 Trump campaign. "I am not aware of that".
"I do believe that Russian Federation did and will continue to try to manipulate Americans' perspective on a whole variety of issues", Nielsen said.
"I do believe that Russian Federation did try and will continue to try to manipulate on a whole variety of issues", she added. We've seen them simultaneously encourage to people to go the same protest on the other side. "The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President Putin himself for the objective of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton".
But while Trump continues to goad his Department of Justice into investigating her campaign, she made jokes about the investigation into Russian election meddling that has already ensnared former staffers of his. Here's what she said about the IC's judgments on Putin's objectives.
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Nielsen's statement appeared to directly contradict the findings of a 2017 intelligence assessment on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election that concluded Putin was interested in hurting Clinton's chances and later helping those of Donald Trump. The second concurred with the assessment by the FBI, CIA and National Security Agency that Russian Federation tried to assist Trump and damage Clinton, the committee said in a press release. "But I do generally have no reason to doubt any intelligence assessment", Nielsen told reporters following the briefing.
"The intelligence assessment language is nuanced for a reason. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency", the assessment states.
"Importantly, they targeted both major political parties".
Shortly after the comment surfaced on social media, vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Sen.
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.