White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney reportedly told Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen not to bring up Russian interference in future elections with President Trump.
Nielsen wanted the White House to focus on preparing for potential Russian interference in the 2020 election, but Mulvaney told her the president “still equated any public discussion of malign Russian election activity with questions about the legitimacy of his victory,” the New York Times reported Wednesday.
The topic “wasn’t a great subject and should be kept below [the president’s] level,” Mulvaney said.
Nielsen, who was forced to resign earlier this month, eventually stopped trying to gather Cabinet secretaries at the White House to put together a plan on how to protect the 2020 elections.
The report comes a day after Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner said the effects of Russian interference in the 2016 election was exaggerated. The U.S. intelligence community believes the Russians meddled in an effort to help Trump win the election.
“You look at what Russia did — you know, buying some Facebook ads to try to sow dissent and do it — and it’s a terrible thing,” Kushner said at the Time 100 Summit on Tuesday.
“But I think the investigations, and all of the speculation that’s happened for the last two years, has had a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple of Facebook ads,” he said.