Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said she does not recall seeing the United States intelligence community's conclusions about Russia's alleged attempt to sway the 2016 Us presidential election in favor of then-candidate Donald Trump.
Shortly afterwards, Nielsen tried to clarify her statement by saying its unclear if Russian Federation had a "specific intent" favoring Trump - based on the actions they took in their 2016 cyber campaign. She also very clearly articulated today that the Russian government unequivocally worked to undermine our democracy during the 2016 election.
The federal government is already working with officials in the states to help them secure their election processes following Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. "Russian goals included undermining faith in the USA democratic process and harming a candidate's electability and potential presidency".
"This is an issue that the Administration takes seriously and is addressing with urgency", a joint statement released Tuesday from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said.
"I don't believe I've seen that conclusion", Nielsen said.
When asked outright if the intelligence community spied on Trump and his campaign, Clapper said, "No, we did not".
"I don't believe our democracy can function for long on lies, particularly when inconvenient and hard facts spoken by the practitioners of truth are dismissed as 'fake news, '" Clapper writes.
The sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters the Senate Intelligence Committee found that although there was mounting evidence of Russian interference for months before the November 2016 election, the Obama administration did not press US intelligence and law enforcement agencies to investigate. Nielsen said she was unaware of that assessment, which has been public for over a year. So we've seen them encourage people go to a protest on one side; we've seen them simultaneously encourage people to go to that same protest on the other side.
Nielsen responded as though she had never heard of the assessment before. "The Secretary agrees with that assessment".
Nielsen's comments come just days after the Senate Intelligence Committee announced it sided with the intelligence community in its findings on Russian interference.
The spokesman added that the language of the intelligence community's assessment is "nuanced" and said that the reporter's question "did not reflect the specific language in the assessment itself".
Nielsen's apparent skepticism of the determination that Russian Federation favored Trump is in line with the conclusion reached by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Wednesday that President Donald Trump had distorted his words when alleging the intelligence community "spied" on his campaign.