Donald Trump’s homeland security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, told reporters on Tuesday she was unaware of intelligence assessments that Russia favored Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. “I do not believe I’ve seen that conclusion that the specific intent was to help President Trump win,” she said. “I’m not aware of that.” Nielsen’s comments stand at odds with the US intelligence community, which concluded in 2017 that Russia tried to influence the 2016 election to benefit Trump. Last week, the Senate intelligence committee said it agreed with that assessment. Nielsen was speaking to reporters after briefing House lawmakers on election security efforts.
The House intelligence committee reported last month that though Russia did interfere in the US election and wanted to hamper the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, it had not seen evidence the interference was meant to help Trump.
The chairman of the House panel, Devin Nunes, has been extensively criticised for his closeness to the Trump White House. His committee said intelligence agencies failed to use “proper analytic tradecraft” when they assessed the intentions of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.