DHS secretary pushes back on assessment that Russian Federation meddled to help Trump

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Nielsen responded as though she had never heard of the assessment before.

"I don't have any observations to make about it", McConnell told reporters Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Trump has expressed skepticism over whether the Russians tried to help him win the election.

"I do believe that Russian Federation did and will continue to try to manipulate Americans' perspective on a whole variety of issues", Nielsen said.

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Several top members of the party said they are unsure whether Nielsen was being serious or simply playing politics when she said she was unaware of the intelligence community's conclusions. Though House Intelligence Committee Republicans wrote in a report that the intelligence community had not followed its own best practices when it determined that Russian Federation was trying to help Trump, the Senate Intelligence Committee released interim findings this month that agreed entirely with the intelligence community.

Nielsen said she supports, more broadly, the intelligence community's findings about Russian meddling. "I think what they are trying to do is to disrupt our belief and our own understanding of what's happening".

Following a classified election security briefing for Congress, Nielsen spoke to reporters, including CNN's Manu Raju.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said President Donald Trump's promises to improve US-Russia relations have stalled because of political firestorms now engulfing the Trump administration.

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In the months before the election, the Federal Bureau of Investigation also was investigating the Clinton Foundation for its fundraising practices and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's and some of her associates' use of a private email server while she was Obama's Secretary of State. And at worst, they were knowingly part of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the American people of one of our most fundamental rights, the right to vote. Houlton pointed out that the Kremlin "targeted both major political parties" in its interference, but did not state that Nielsen believes Russian Federation favored Trump. "Russian goals included undermining faith in the US democratic process and harming a candidate's electability and potential presidency".

"The Secretary has previously reviewed the intelligence community's assessment and agrees with it - as she stated today and previously", he said in a statement.

"House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they would not support a bipartisan statement that might hurt their nominee for president", Clapper writes in an excerpt of the book published by NPR.

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

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The House of Representatives Intelligence Committee's Republican majority, however, said it found "no evidence of collusion, coordination, or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians".

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