Administration

Nielsen was warned not to talk to Trump about new Russian election interference: report

Former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was warned not to brief President Trump on possible Russian interference in the 2020 presidential election, according to The New York Times.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney reportedly warned Nielsen not to bring the topic up in front of the president, despite Nielsen’s concern that the Russians would attempt to influence another U.S. election.

Mulvaney reportedly said it “wasn’t a great subject and should be kept below [the president’s] level.”

{mosads}The reported warning came amid special counsel Robert Mueller’s nearly two-year investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, including whether Trump or his associates cooperated in the effort.

Trump has raged over Mueller’s probe, regularly calling it a “witch hunt” and “presidential harassment.” The investigation concluded in March, finding no criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Despite statements Trump has made that appear to cast doubt on whether Russians sought to influence the vote in 2016, his administration says he accepts that attempts were made.

Nielsen, who left the administration earlier this month, reportedly wanted to organize a Cabinet meeting to discuss strategy for preventing additional attempts in 2020. Three senior Trump administration officials and one former senior administration official described to the Times her frustration at the lack of progress on what she believed was an important national security issue.

Eight U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in January 2017 that Russians interfered in the 2016 election. The heads of multiple agencies have warned of ongoing attempts to infiltrate U.S. elections, although the director of national intelligence did not find any direct interference in the 2018 midterm elections.

Updated at 8:35 a.m.

Tags 2016 election Department of Homeland Security Donald Trump Kirstjen Nielsen Mick Mulvaney Mueller report Robert Mueller Russian election interference

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