Nielsen questions Russian Federation interference for Trump

Gerardo Harmon
May 25, 2018

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.

That the specific intent was to help President Trump win? "I am not aware of that". "I can't imagine anyone that is going to be engaged in national security, and particularly election security, would not have read that assessment", Mark Warner, the Democratic senator from Virginia who is on the intelligence committee, said afterward. "We need to be prepared", she said. "All three agencies agree with this judgment", the report's conclusion found.

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".

"We see no reason to dispute the conclusions", said Sen.

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On May 16, the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a statement after the review of the USA intelligence community's findings and said they found no evidence to dispute it. Houlton pointed out that the Kremlin "targeted both major political parties" in its interference, but did not state that Nielsen believes Russian Federation favored Trump. That was at odds with Republican members of the House intelligence committee, who said that while Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted to hamper Hillary Clinton's campaign, that didn't mean he wanted to help Trump.

Clapper continued to address the recent barrage of both tweets and oral attacks from the President and his allies by reiterating that his work as director of national intelligence related to Trump and his campaign was about trying to determine what the Russians were doing to interfere with American elections.

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

Update: DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton shared this statement: "The intelligence assessment language is nuanced for a reason".

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A May 8 U.S. Senate report said that in 2016 "cyber actors affiliated with the Russian Government conducted an unprecedented, coordinated cyber campaign against state election infrastructure".

Following Nielsen's apparent "unawareness" of the report's findings, the DHS issued a statement in an attempt to clarify her stance on the topic.

Last week, however, the Senate Intelligence Committee broke with its counterpart in the lower chamber.

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