House Democrats question DHS chief's claim of ignorance about Russian election interference

Midterms are in Putin's crosshairs, ex-spy chief says

The U.S. intelligence community concluded in a January 2017 report that Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 election to help Trump and hurt Democrat Hillary Clinton's campaign. "I am not aware of that".

"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.

Donald Trump would have been on his way to losing the 2016 election without help from Vladimir Putin and the Russians, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper claims.

The chairman of the House panel, Devin Nunes, has been extensively criticised for his closeness to the Trump White House.

Clapper said the American intelligence community concluded that the campaign was made at the direct order of Vladimir Putin, who wanted Donald Trump to win the election to destabilize the United States.

"I do not believe that I've seen that conclusion that specific intent was to help President Trump win", Nielsen insisted. "It's an integrity issue of who is saying what and why and how that may or may not affect American behavior".

The unclassified assessment released by top USA officials in January 2017 said that Moscow sought to interfere in the election in order to undermine the American democratic process, damage Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMueller moves ahead with Papadopoulos sentencing What's wrong with the Democratic Party?

Nielsen's remarks, which come amid her reported tensions with Trump over immigration, sparked instant condemnation.

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However, Clinton also took the opportunity to take a swipe at Trump over Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.

After the briefing, Nielsen was asked about intelligence agencies' conclusions that Moscow used social media, leaks of hacked emails and other tactics in 2016 in an attempt to help Trump beat Hillary Clinton. She also very clearly articulated today that the Russian government unequivocally worked to undermine our democracy during the 2016 election. "Importantly, they targeted both major political parties".

"The intelligence assessment language is nuanced for a reason".

"The Secretary has previously reviewed the Intelligence Community's assessment and agrees with it - as she stated today and previously".

"The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated and ordered by President Putin himself for the objective of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton", said Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the committee's top Democrat.

But the Senate intelligence committee said last week that it agrees with the intelligence agencies' assessment.

Some Republicans in Congress have since disputed the findings, with House Intelligence Committee Republicans alleging that the finding was based on poor analysis. They claimed in their report that the intelligence community didn't follow its best practices when it concluded Russian Federation favored Trump in the election.

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