Donald Trump is so insecure about his Russia-assisted Electoral College win—or so eager to repeat it—that he won’t hear a word about trying to stop Russia from repeating its interference in 2020. When former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tried to prepare a cyberdefense plan for 2020, Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, told her that Russia “wasn’t a great subject and should be kept below [Trump’s] level,” according to a senior administration official.
”Russia’s social media efforts will continue to focus on aggravating social and racial tensions, undermining trust in authorities and criticizing perceived anti-Russia politicians,” according to a World Assessment Report from intelligence agencies. “Moscow may employ additional influence tool kits — such as spreading disinformation, conducting hack-and-leak operations or manipulating data — in a more targeted fashion to influence U.S. policy, actions and elections.” But Nielsen’s efforts to focus attention on the threat were thwarted by Trump’s refusal to hear a word about it.
This is some scary stuff, and just one more thing Trump and his enablers should have to answer for. But it’s only leaking now because Nielsen is desperately trying to rehabilitate her reputation. She separated families for Trump. She may have tried to formulate a response to Russian interference, but “only after it became increasingly clear that she had fallen out of Mr. Trump’s favor for not taking a harder line against immigration,” the New York Times reports, and she apparently didn’t think it was urgent enough to sound a real public alarm about—even now, it’s happening by leaks. Kirstjen Nielsen loyally worked for Trump until he forced her out, and she’s still not exactly coming out strong for truth, justice, and clean elections.