The Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is stating that Russia was involved in disrupting the 2016 presidential election, NBC is reporting. Nielsen, speaking at the DHS National Cybersecurity Summit, agreed with the findings of the intelligence community that Russia was involved in a campaign to impact the 2016 election.
Nielsen went on to say that the operation was not only Russian in origin, but that the operation was conducted at the order of the highest levels of Russian government. Such statements placed the blame for the operations directly on Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia.
The New York Times previously reported that at least seven major intelligence groups in the United States government agreed that Russia interfered with elections in the U.S. These agencies included the C.I.A., National Security Agency, F.B.I., Justice Department, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, House Intelligence Committee, and Senate Intelligence Committee.
The number of agencies in agreement with the findings seemed to suggest that Russia was, without question, behind a campaign to interrupt domestic elections. Nielsen’s statements merely added the Department of Homeland Security to an already large list of agencies that believed Russia was involved in disrupting the U.S. government. As covered by CNBC, even Vice President Pence agreed that Russia meddle in the presidential elections in 2016.
Yet despite overwhelming agreement from the intelligence community and different branches of government that Russia was involved in interrupting U.S. elections, President Trump himself has not made his position clear on the issue. As reported in the New York Times, he first denied that Russia was involved before later contradicting himself, stating that Russia did indeed interfere.
However, President Trump would again contradict himself when, a day later, he denied that Russia was still targeting the U.S. CNBC recorded the president stating that the country was no longer being targeted by Russian agents. That leaves the president in an awkward position. With the head of every major intelligence source agreeing that Russia interfered with domestic elections, and with even his most notable supporters agreeing, Trump has been left as one of the few individuals denying that the U.S. is a target of Russian interference.