Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney seems to have freaked out after the "New York Times" revealed he leaned on Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to keep President Donald Trump out of the loop about election security preparations for 2020, issuing a swift personal response that showed up in the Washington Post moments afterward.
“Kirstjen Nielsen was trying to get Russian election interference on the president’s radar,” said host Hallie Jackson. “But according to one senior administration official, Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff, said ‘it wasn’t a great subject and should be kept below President Trump’s level.’ And now Mick Mulvaney is responding.”
“He is responding on the record,” said reporter Kristen Welker. “This is a swift response, and as you know to get something like this on the record so quickly doesn’t happen every day.”
Mulvaney’s response, probably unsurprisingly, laid the blame for Russia’s meddling at the feet of the Obama administration. But Welker had a fact check.
“Of course, the former Obama Administration did take some steps, we know that Obama pushed President Putin directly and also slapped some sanctions on Russia,” said Welker. “What is the Trump administration doing?”
“They will tell you they have had a robust response,” Welker said of “interagency” collaboration between the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice “shore up and strengthen” the security of the electoral system.
“But critics would argue, ‘look, it doesn’t go far enough,'” Welker added. “They want to hear President Trump get tougher on this subject himself.”