WATCH: DHS Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen Says She Hasn’t Seen ‘Any Evidence’ Russian Interference Favored Trump
The overall purpose of Russia’s election meddling in 2016 was to cause chaos and sow discord, said Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at the Aspen Institute on Thursday.
NBC’s Peter Alexander interviewed Nielsen for the Aspen Institute and covered the election interference and Russia heavily.
Nielsen said that the intelligence community conclusions were correct that Russia attempted to interfere with the 2016 elections.
WATCH: “I don’t think there’s any question in the intel community or at DHS that Russians attempted to infiltrate and interfere with our electoral system … I don’t think there’s any doubt that they did it,” Sec. Nielsen says at the Aspen Security Forum. pic.twitter.com/NiRvbcCAz9
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) July 19, 2018
Nielsen said that interference was both with the election infrastructure and through the use of foreign influence. That means both hacking and the “fake news” and Facebook efforts usually mocked by Trump-friendly media. Both things.
The Secretary was also was clear, once pressed, that it was Russia in particular involved in the hacking effort, not just foreign countries generally, as has been suggested by both the president himself and pro-Trump media this week.
During the interview, Alexander asked if Nielsen could clarify remarks she made earlier in the year regarding the U.S. intelligence consensus that Russia’s attempts at interference were specifically in favor of Donald Trump. On this point she was less clear.
“I haven’t seen any evidence that the attempts to interfere in our election infrastructure was to favor a particular political party,” Nielsen replied. “I think what we’ve seen on the foreign influence side is they were attempting to intervene and cause chaos on both sides, right, whether it was in Charlottesville where we saw them on both sides – whether it’s in Syria – both sides.”
“So, no, I would not necessarily say that was the purpose,” she continued. “I think the overall purpose is to sow discord and to get us all to fight against each other rather than understand who the enemy is.
Alexander returned to the question for clarity. “The intelligence community did have that finding, right? Their finding was that it was in an effort to favor the president, agreed?”
Nielsen then said the effort to attack was directed against certain parties more than others.
“It was in an effort to attack certain political parties that we know about, right? More than others. So I think we’ll continue to look at what that means and be prepared for the next time,” she said.
In Monday’s joint presser with President Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin was asked if he wanted Trump to be elected rather than Hillary Clinton, and he said that, yes, he did.
Watch the clip above, via MSNBC.
[Featured image via screengrab]
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