When former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen set out to strengthen efforts to protect the 2020 election from Russian interference, Donald Trump’s chief of staff reportedly warned her to keep it a secret from the president through fear it would upset him. The New York Times reports that, before Nielsen left the Department of Homeland Security earlier this month, she became increasingly concerned about Russia’s continued attempts to disrupt elections despite being caught red-handed in 2016. When she wanted to push ahead with new measures to help fight back earlier this year, chief of staff Mick Mulvaney warned her that Trump still equated discussion of Russian election interference with questions about the legitimacy of his victory. Mulvaney reportedly told her it “wasn’t a great subject and should be kept below his level.” Nielsen eventually gave up on her effort to organize a White House meeting of cabinet secretaries to discuss how to protect next year’s presidential elections.
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