The United States was the victim of a concerted cyber attack by Russia throughout the 2016 presidential campaign. That fact is undisputed by every U.S. intelligence agency with jurisdiction over the subject. Even the Republican-run Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that Putin preferred Donald Trump and was deliberately aiding his candidacy while working against Hillary Clinton.
So it comes as some surprise that Trump’s Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, responded to reporter’s inquiries at a House briefing on election security by saying that she wasn’t aware of any such assessment (video below):
“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,” said Nielsen. She said that, in her opinion, Russia was only trying to “disrupt our belief and our own understanding of what’s happening.”
Seriously? This is the top domestic security official in the U.S. government. She is responsible for maintaining the safety and integrity of the nation’s voting systems and the confidence of the American people that their votes count. But she claims not be aware of established facts that expose severe flaws in our electoral processes and pose an existential threat to our democracy.
The conclusion that Russia sought to aid Trump is not in dispute. It was confirmed as far back as January 2017 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in a report that unambiguously stated that:
“We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump. We have high confidence in these judgments.”
If Nielsen is actually unaware of these undisputed facts regarding Russia’s election interference, then she is either lazy or incompetent. There is no excuse for her not knowing about this fundamental report or the serious threats to Homeland Security that are enumerated in it.
If Nielsen is merely feigning ignorance on behalf of her boss, then she is complicit with his propaganda and criminal negligence. Trump has repeatedly denied the reality that Putin was helping his campaign. He surely doesn’t want members of his cabinet contradicting him. That could lead to further erosion of his denials regarding his collusion with Russia and financial improprieties by himself and his family.
But Nielsen, like all federal officials, took an oath to “defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” She works for the American people. She did not swear allegiance to a wannabe dictator who insists that all of his minions kowtow to him and protect him from bad publicity or criminal liability. And if she doesn’t understand that she should resign and stop helping Trump to soft-pedal Russia’s hostilities against the United States.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
DHS Sec. Nielsen when asked about 2017 intel report that found Putin interfered in election and favored Trump over Clinton: "I do not believe that I've seen that conclusion." pic.twitter.com/8xTjND7zaO
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) May 22, 2018