DHS secretary 'not aware' Putin tried to help Trump campaign

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Nielsen and other Trump administration officials briefed lawmakers on election security Tuesday morning in a classified setting to discuss overall threats to upcoming US elections and explain the steps the administration is taking to counter those threats.

"Do you have any reason to doubt the January 17th [2017] Intelligence Committee assessment that said it was [Russian President] Vladimir Putin who tried to meddle in this election to help President Trump?".

"We see them continuing to conduct foreign influence campaigns", Nielsen said, but added there was no evidence that Russian Federation had been targeting specific races. "I'm not aware of that", she said.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen said on Tuesday that she was unaware of the intelligence community's assessment that. Here's what she said about the IC's judgments on Putin's objectives. "All three agencies agree with this judgment", the report said, referring to the CIA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency.

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DHS is assisting 48 states with election security and handed out a chart at the briefing to members seen by Reuters that said states need to have auditable systems; spend time on planning, training and drills; and should "consider investing in full system architecture reviews".

She later attempted to clarify the statement, adding that Russian interference affected "both sides".

The House intelligence committee reported last month that though Russian Federation did interfere in the USA election and wanted to hamper the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, it had not seen evidence the interference was meant to help Trump. "Russian goals included undermining faith in the US democratic process and harming a candidate's electability and potential presidency".

In a statement to TPM on Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security press secretary Tyler Houlton said that Nielsen "agrees" with the Intelligence Community assessment and "clearly" said Tuesday that the "Russian government unequivocally worked to undermine our democracy" in 2016.

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US Senate investigators have concluded that President Barack Obama's administration was too slow to investigate suspected Russian interference in the 2016 US election, two sources familiar with their inquiries said. And at worst, they were knowingly part of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the American people of one of our most fundamental rights, the right to vote.

"Importantly, they targeted both major political parties".

A May 8 U.S. Senate report said that in 2016 "cyber actors affiliated with the Russian Government conducted an unprecedented, coordinated cyber campaign against state election infrastructure". "But the question asked by the reporter did not reflect the specific language in the assessment itself, so the secretary correctly stated she had not seen the conclusion as characterized by the reporter".

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