Kirstjen Nielsen: 'I haven't seen evidence' Russia tried to help Trump win

 

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Thursday denied having “seen evidence” that Russia intended to swing the 2016 election in President Donald Trump’s favor, as U.S. intelligence agencies have determined.

“I haven’t seen any evidence that the attempt to interfere in our election infrastructure was to favor a particular political party,” Nielson responded when asked about Russia’s intentions Thursday during the Aspen Security Forum.

“What we’ve seen on the foreign influence side is they were attempting to intervene and cause chaos on both sides,” she continued.

Nielsen made a similar assertion in May, which the Department of Homeland Security later walked back.

“I do not believe that I’ve seen that conclusion that the specific intent was to help President Trump win,” Nielsen told reporters at the time. “I’m not aware of that.”

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President Donald Trump meets with Vladimir Putin in Finland
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and U.S. President Donald Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HELSINKI, FINLAND - JULY 16, 2018: The national flags of Russia and the United States seen ahead of a meeting of Russia's President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a meeting in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R), U.S. President Donald Trump (C) and First lady Melania Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
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Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R), U.S. President Donald Trump (C) and First lady Melania Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands as they meet in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and U.S. President Donald Trump attend a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HELSINKI, FINLAND JULY 16, 2018: US President Donald Trump (L) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin give a joint news conference following their meeting at the Presidential Palace. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin react at the end of the joint news conference after their meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
U.S. President Donald Trump receives a football from Russia's President Vladimir Putin during their joint news conference after a meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C), U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and First lady Melania Trump pose for a picture with a football during a meeting in Helsinki, Finland July 16, 2018. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
HELSINKI, FINLAND JULY 16, 2018: US First Lady Melania Trump, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and US President Donald Trump (L-R) after a news conference at the Presidential Palace. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump holds a football thrown to her by U.S. President Donald Trump during his joint news conference with Russia's President Vladimir Putin after a meeting in Helsinki, Finland, July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
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Hours later, DHS clarified her comments to say that she “agrees with” U.S. intelligence agencies’ 2016 findings.

A representative for the department did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment Thursday.

Nielsen’s remarks come amid backlash that has engulfed Trump since he said at the Helsinki summit that he accepted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denial of election interference over U.S. intelligence findings. Trump, in attempting to calm the uproar, appeared to undermine U.S. intelligence agencies further. 

Trump claimed he misspoke in Helsinki Monday when he said he didn’t “see any reason why [Russia] would” be responsible for election interference and cyberattacks. 

“I would like to clarify, in a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t.’ The sentence should have been: ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia,’” Trump told reporters Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Trump appeared to reject U.S. intelligence once again, telling a reporter that Russia was no longer targeting the U.S. White House press secretary Sarah Hucakbee Sanders later said Trump had been saying “no” to taking more questions ― not responding to question about Russia.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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