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Home / World / The former DHS chief wished meetings on election campaign threats, the White House refused: officials

The former DHS chief wished meetings on election campaign threats, the White House refused: officials



In recent months, Kirstjen Nielsen, a member of the Homeland Security Department, has been prevented from convening in the White House to hold high-level cabinet meetings on Russia's possible future interference in the upcoming US election of 2020, two with the affair trusted senior officials told ABC News.

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Nielsen, whose department is mandated The defense of US infrastructure, including cyber attacks, had already set off an alarm before the 201

8 stops. After the interim, she urged the White House to convene a cabinet meeting to deal directly with the issue, but the White House "refused," according to one of the officials, forcing the DHS to convene meetings with its own leaders.

Nielsen was also told by White House staff that, according to Trump, the matter did not need to alert Trump to the matter.

"The White House did not want to focus on one level of principals on the issue," the official told ABC News.

  PHOTO: President Donald Trump speaks at his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Oval Office, April 2, 2019, in Washington DC
Evan Vucci / AP
President Donald Trump speaks as he speaks NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg meets in the Oval Office on April 2, 2019 in Washington DC

. The last Cabinet-level personal cabinets on the subject were held before the midterm elections in November 2018, and there have not been since then, said three senior administration officials. One said there were minor discussions on the issue among top national security officials.

"We are far better prepared than 2016, but we are still far behind our opponents. It is clear that the administration did not give high priority to influences from abroad. This is a feeling that has been experienced throughout the interaction, "said one of the officers.

The New York Times first reported the White House rebound for Nielsen. The Times reported that Deputy Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney Nielsen said he should not bring it to the president and told her that it was "not a big issue and should stay below its level."

In a statement to ABC News, Mulvaney said, "I can not remember anything that happened at a meeting, but unlike the Obama administration, which knew about Russian actions in 2014 and did nothing, the trump card Government does not tolerate foreign interference in our elections, and we have already taken many steps to prevent this in the future. "

The Obama administration has taken some action against Russia's interference, including private warnings and sanctions.

  PHOTO: Voters vote at a polling station in Brooklyn, New York, November 8, 2016.
John Taggart / Bloomberg via Getty Images
Voters cast their votes at a polling station in Brooklyn, New York , November 8, 2016.

A DHS spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. Nielsen stepped back earlier this month. Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for the National Security Council of the White House, said in a statement: "National Security Council staff are responsible for the regular and ongoing coordination of the state-level approach to counter external influence on malignant influences and ensure electoral security ,

"Any suggestion that this government does less than anything to secure the elections in America is obviously wrong," he said.

The revised version of the 448-page report by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, which was sent to Congress last week, contained both what he calls "Russia's" comprehensive and systematic "effort to influence the presidential elections of 2016 and Trumps Concern that this was the case described this interference could undermine his electoral victory.

"After the elections, the president expressed concerns to consultants that reports of Russia's interference in public could undermine the legitimacy of his election," the report said.

Even in the run-up to the medium-term electoral legislature on both sides of the corridor, intelligence officials also expressed their frustration at what they perceived as a lack of a clear government strategy to combat further Russian interference.

Following the publication of The Muller's Report, it is "sobering" to see all of Russia's efforts to undermine American society and the political process in one place.

Mueller's US intelligence and past indictments had already accused Russia of three interference efforts in 2016: a hack-and-leak operation aimed at democratic personalities, a widespread online campaign of influence, social and political discord in China In the US and Europe, cyberattacks directed against the electoral infrastructure, such as voter databases, are causing them. Last week, the Mueller report set out in detail how the Kremlin should weaken American democracy, a strategy that officials and experts believe continues to this day.

The mid-term elections in 2018 saw neither the hack and drop strategy nor any major election infrastructure attacks, but foreign online influences continued unabated, according to an assessment by the intelligence community. The US security officials were loud in their warnings that Russia, possibly along with China, Iran and others who have learned dark lessons from 2016, is likely to aim for the 2020 race.

"The risk of interference by a foreign government in the election is an existential threat to national security," said John Cohen, a former senior official of the Department of Homeland Security and current ABC News employee, following the release of the Mueller report. "While some agencies such as the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and US Cyber ​​Command are working to alleviate this threat, the US government can and must do more to combat the threat to our electoral process, but this requires visible leadership White House and the President himself. "

Trump's former campaigner Chris Christie said on April 18, the "ABC News" podcast "The Investigation" that if he spoke to the president, he would tell him to take the Focus on the 2020 threat, both for practical and political reasons.

"You know, take [CIA Director] Gina Reel and [FBI Director] Chris Wray, bring the DNI [Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats] and say, 'Listen, we now have a roadmap for what the Russians have done What we are doing is preparing you for the 2020 election? I allow you to do whatever you need to do to protect the integrity of these elections, and we work with Congress to ensure that … if you need additional resources to protect the integrity of our elections. & # 39;

"I've often thought that would be a really productive thing for him and a smart thing for him to act politically," said Christie, the former governor of New Jersey and current employee of ABC News.

In a statement to ABC News, Coats reiterated the claim that the government did not take Russia's interference in the election seriously.

"The anonymous sources assume that the administration has not taken this problem seriously or has not taken it seriously, and minimizes the work that is being driven by countless individuals to ensure the integrity of our electoral process," he said the explanation.

Last week, another White House National Security Council spokesman refused to comment on Trump's personal interest in Russia's interference, but pointed to government action to combat foreign intervention interference from the expansionist offensive Cybercrimes and the Preparation of Sanctions Those "determined to intervene in a US election" accused the Ministry of Justice of suspecting Russian activists.

Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo said last week that he would warn his Russian colleagues "of the staunch demand that Russia not participate in activities that undermine our democracy's ability to succeed."

"And we will make it very clear to them that this is unacceptable behavior, and as you have seen from this government, we will take tough measures to increase the cost of malignant activity in Russia," he said. "And we will continue to do that."


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