Obama administration too slow to probe Russian meddling in 2016 - Senate sources

26 May, 2018, 06:45 | Author: Shannon Newton
  • Midterms are in Putin's crosshairs, ex-spy chief says

House Democrats are questioning Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's commitment to improving election security after she told reporters Tuesday that she is unfamiliar with a key finding in the intelligence community's assessment of Russian interference in the 2016 election: that the Kremlin meant to help President Trump win.

Reporters asked Nielsen if she questioned a 2017 intelligence community assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed efforts to meddle in the presidential election to try and help President Trump. "I am not aware of that".

In January 2017, the United States intelligence community issued an assessment in which it concluded that Russian Federation tried to help Trump win the presidential election by launching a campaign against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

"That the specific intent was to help President Trump win I am not aware of that.", Nielsen said. "No, there are not tanks in the streets, but what's happening right now goes to the heart of who we are as a nation, and I say this not as a Democrat who lost an election but as an American afraid of losing a country".

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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? Panel approves bill to toughen foreign investment reviews DHS secretary says she hasn't seen assessment that Russian Federation interfered to help Trump win MORE (D-Va.). As The Daily Beast noted, Clapper is adamant that it was Russia's actions in interfering in the election that swung the race to Donald Trump. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.

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.

"The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated and ordered by President Putin himself for the goal of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton", said Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the committee's top Democrat. "The Secretary agrees with that assessment".

"Despite the short time frame they had to prepare it, the intelligence community did a very good job with the ICA", said Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Senator Mark Warner (D-VA).

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"I know that the Intelligence Community can not serve our nation if facts are negotiable".

The House of Representatives Intelligence Committee's Republican majority, however, said it found "no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians".

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declined to answer questions about whether he agreed with the 2017 intelligence community assessment.

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