Tags: Russia Probe | Trump Administration | jeh johnson | trump | rhetoric | signals | russia

Jeh Johnson: Trump's Rhetoric 'Sending Signals' Russia Meddling Will Be Tolerated

(MSNBC/"Morning Joe")

By    |   Friday, 23 Jun 2017 10:26 AM

The Obama administration owed it to the public to report that it knew Russia was interfering in the 2016 presidential election, but it was a "very big decision" to make considering then-candidate Donald Trump was saying the election results would be rigged, former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Friday.

He also told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that he's concerned about Russia continuing its meddling behavior in the 2018 and 2020 elections, and that Trump's rhetoric is "sending the signals that something like this will be tolerated."

"I have not heard from President Trump a strong statement of condemnation about the Russian behavior and about what all of his intelligence community is telling him happened last year," said Johnson.

But as far as the decision late last year, "we decided that we had to tell the American voting public, what we knew was going on before the election," Johnson said of the revelations made last Oct. 7, just weeks before the election.

"The analogy that I used as a corporate lawyer, if I'm issuing a public stock and I know there's a very powerful actor out there manipulating the price of that public stock, I have an obligation to tell the investing public," Johnson said.

"At the end of the day, that was the prevailing point of view, though there were a lot of very special considerations. This was an unprecedented move by the administration to point the finger at a superpower in the midst of an election."

Johnson said he felt "very strongly" that the American public needed to know, but it was not an easy decision.

"Given the rhetoric of the campaign, given the fact that in national security, we typically stay out of elections, we stay out of campaigns," said Johnson. "With the intelligence, which was overwhelming, we felt an obligation to tell the public on Oct. 7."

Ironically, Johnson said he and then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper issued their statement, they'd thought it would be the big news. However, the news came out the same day as the infamous "Access Hollywood" video.

The intelligence showed Russia wanted to favor Trump over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, said Johnson, but the more important issue was that a "very powerful foreign actor" was trying to "put his thumb on the scale of our democracy."

"The question now for us, which is why I was voluntarily willing to go down to Washington this week and testify is, what we are going to do about it?" said Johnson.

"What's next? Our election infrastructure in this country is exposed. There are vulnerabilities that came to light last year. So what are we going to do about that for 2018, for 2020?"

Johnson, though, said he is worried that Trump's rhetoric is "sending the signals that something like this will be tolerated," so the United States has got to make such behavior "cost prohibitive."

The former secretary disagreed that it took too long time to reveal the information about Russia.

"It was a mobilizing picture that [former CIA Director] John Brennan and others presented to us, and there was a point in late summer, early fall when the picture became crystal clear," said Johnson.

The administration had to consider if it was compromising sources and methods, as well if it would be injecting itself into the presidential campaign.

"You've got to think about the fact that one of the candidates is already saying the election is going to be rigged," said Johnson.

"It's not like waking up one morning and issuing a tweet. We thought very carefully at the National Security Council level about what we needed to do. At the end of the day, we recognized we had to tell the American public what was going on."

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
1Like our page
2Share
Newsfront
The Obama administration owed it to the public to report that it knew Russia was interfering in the 2016 presidential election, but it was a "very big decision" to make considering then-candidate Donald Trump was saying the election results would be rigged...
jeh johnson, trump, rhetoric, signals, russia, meddling, tolerated
625
2017-26-23
Friday, 23 Jun 2017 10:26 AM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved