In August of 2018, 8 different United States Intelligence groups affirmed that Russia had interfered in the 2016 elections. President Donald Trump, however, has downplayed both their actions and the effects it may have had on the election results.
Former Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, was tasked with monitoring Russian meddling efforts on the 2020 race. According to a New York Times report, Nielsen was told to not bring up the subject to the president.
In January of this year, a group including Nielsen delivered a Worldwide Threat Assessment to Congress. The report read:
“Russia’s social media efforts will continue to focus on aggravating social and racial tensions, undermining trust in authorities and criticizing perceived anti-Russia politicians. Moscow may employ additional influence tool kits — such as spreading disinformation, conducting hack-and-leak operations or manipulating data — in a more targeted fashion to influence U.S. policy, actions and elections.”
Nielsen, though, was not able to bring up these issue with the president. According to the report, Mulvaney told the Homeland Security head it, “wasn’t a great subject and should be kept below his level.”
Trump has long been sensitive about the impact Russian meddling might have had on his historic victory. After a summit with Putin in 2018, Trump acknowledged, “While Russia’s actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying — and I’ve said this many times — I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place.”
The White House has yet to respond to the New York Times story.
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Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com and Pet Lifestyles Magazine. He enjoys sports, politics, technology and spending time at the shore with his family.