Jeh Johnson: We Held Back Info on Russian Meddling Partly Due to Trump’s ‘Rigged’ Election Comments
Speaking in front of the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson claimed that the DHS held back information regarding the alleged Russian hacking because of then-candidate Donald Trump‘s claims that the election would be “rigged”. “Totally rigged,” to be more specific.
According to the Washington Examiner, the outgoing DHS chief did not want it to appear as though his department may be favoring Hillary Clinton during the election process, especially given the allegations by Mr. Trump that there would be some form of interference in the election.
“Why did it take the administration so long to make a public statement that a foreign adversary was trying to influence the American election?” Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, asked Johnson.
“First, as you know well, we have to carefully consider whether declassifying the information compromises sources and methods,” Johnson replied. “Second, there was an ongoing election and many would criticize us for perhaps taking sides in the election.”
“One of the candidates… was predicting that the election would be rigged in some way,” he said. “So we were concerned that by making a statement that we might in and of itself be challenging the integrity of the election process.”
Johnson told the committee that when a statement was eventually made by the Obama administration about the Russian interference, the story took a back seat to the bombshell release of the Access Hollywood tape, which showed Trump engaging in, what he called “locker room talk”, with NBC’s Billy Bush.
“I think the larger issue is it did not get the public attention that it should have, frankly, because the same day the press was focused on the release of the ‘Access Hollywood’ video,” he said. “That’s what made our news below the fold news that day.”
Watch above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]
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