Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen said on Tuesday that she was unaware of the intelligence community's assessment that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election to try and help President Donald Trump win.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirsjten Nielsen and the directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Intelligence delivered a classified briefing to members of Congress, explaining how they're assisting state and local governments with the approaching midterm election. "I'm not aware of that", she said.
"I want to be very clear what we have seen the Russians do is attempt to manipulate public confidence on both sides".
A spokesman for Nielsen later said told ABC News that Nielsen has been consistent in her support of the intelligence community findings on Russian meddling and that she was simply taking issue with the premise of the question. "Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency", the assessment states.
The chairman of the House panel, Devin Nunes, has been extensively criticised for his closeness to the Trump White House.
"Do you have any reason to doubt the January 17th  Intelligence Committee assessment that said it was [Russian President] Vladimir Putin who tried to meddle in this election to help President Trump?".
Later, she admitted she is "not over" the election loss, adding, "I still regret the mistakes I made". "Russian goals included undermining faith in the US democratic process and harming a candidate's electability and potential presidency". Kirstjen Nielsen as she exited a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill.
McConnell also refused to weigh in on whether he thought it was appropriate for Trump to intervene in a Department of Justice investigation ― especially one concerning him and his 2016 presidential campaign.
So far, she said, the department has not seen evidence that Russian Federation is trying to meddle in any particular races this year.
"House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they would not support a bipartisan statement that might hurt their nominee for president", Clapper writes in an excerpt of the book published by NPR. "The Secretary agrees with that assessment".
But the Senate intelligence committee said last week that it agrees with the intelligence agencies' assessment.
The former director of national intelligence says the campaign to help Trump win was launched at the direct order of Vladimir Putin.
Nielsen's apparent skepticism of the determination that Russian Federation favored Trump is in line with the conclusion reached by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee. Mark Warner (D-Va.) sent an email to reporters with several links to the intelligence community's findings. "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".