Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had told former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen that any discussions regarding Russian interference in the 2020 elections should be held without Donald Trump. Mulvaney cited the president’s insecurity over the legitimacy of his 2016 victory for his reasoning why, according to a new report in The New York Times.

Nielsen resigned from her position earlier this month. However, she tried to prepare for Russian meddling in the upcoming 2020 elections in the months prior to her departure. She grew more concerned over the Kremlin’s capability to influence the United States, as their efforts had continued prior to and after the 2018 midterm election. Mulvaney, however, urged her not to bring the subject up by Trump, explaining how it “wasn’t a great subject and should be kept below his level.”


On Wednesday, Mulvaney refuted the Times‘ story. In a statement, he claimed he did not remember suggesting to keep discussions of election security a secret from Trump. He also added how the Trump White House was working harder than Barack Obama‘s had in stopping Russian interference.

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“I don’t recall anything along those lines happening in any meeting,” Mulvaney said. “Unlike the Obama administration, who knew about Russian actions in 2014 and did nothing, the Trump administration will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections, and we’ve already taken many steps to prevent it in the future.”

Robert Mueller’s report warned how Russia was likely to try to influence the 2020 elections as it had with the 2016 and 2018 elections. However, those within Trump’s orbit have downplayed the special counsel’s findings, including both Jared Kushner and Rudy Giuliani.

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