DHS Secretary Claims She Hasn’t Seen Intelligence Reports Stating Putin Helped Trump Win

“I’m not aware of that.”

Tom Williams/ZUMA

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

In January 2017, US intelligence officials at the CIA, the FBI, and the National Security Agency definitively concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin “developed a clear preference” for then-2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump and coordinated a high-level campaign aimed at discrediting his opponent, Hillary Clinton. 

The assessment was also backed by the Senate Intelligence Committee and special counsel Robert Mueller.

Despite the well-publicized and unambiguous assessment, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Tuesday told a group of reporters, “I don’t believe I have seen that conclusion.”  

“That the specific intent was to help President Trump win—I’m not aware of that,” Nielsen continued. “But I do generally have no reason to doubt any intelligence assessment.” She later attempted to clarify the statement, adding that Russian interference affected “both sides.”

Nielsen’s remarks, which come amid her reported tensions with Trump over immigration, sparked instant condemnation. Shortly after the comment surfaced on social media, vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) sent an email to reporters with several links to the intelligence community’s findings. The subject line of the email read, “I honestly can’t believe I have to keep doing this.”

In recent days, Trump has taken new steps to undermine the ongoing Russia investigations. His anger with the special counsel’s probe hit a new level on Sunday, when he announced his intention to order the Justice Department to look into his claim that the FBI may have illegally spied on his campaign for political purposes.  (The president’s narrative appears to misrepresent reports that an FBI informant made contact with Trump associates to look into the growing concerns regarding foreign influence in the American election.) Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced Tuesday that the Justice Department would investigate Trump’s latest conspiracy theory.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate