Ex-DHS official: Trump appeared to side with Team Russia

Source: Politico | August 19, 2020 | Betsy Woodruff Swan

“He was playing for the other team, it felt like, a lot of the time,” said Miles Taylor.

In the eyes of a former top official at the department that handles election security, President Donald Trump appeared to side with Russia on the matter.

Miles Taylor, who worked at the Department of Homeland Security during the first two years of Trump’s presidency, including a stint as the department’s chief of staff, told POLITICO it often felt like his office had to fight against the president to secure U.S. elections from foreign meddling.

“He was playing for the other team, it felt like, a lot of the time,” said Taylor, a political appointee, in an interview. “That’s what it felt like. Sometimes it felt like the president was on the Russian team and not the American team, and we were having to run the football into the end zone against the president to secure our own country.”

In particular, Taylor said Trump appeared to take Russia’s side when the president would criticize administration officials for talking about the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment that concluded the Kremlin meddled to help Trump.

“The president thought it was a political document that undermined the legitimacy of his election, and he’d be really angry when officials would talk about it,” he said.

Taylor said Trump’s then-chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, once told him not to bring up election interference with the president.

“Mick said, ‘Please don’t bring this stuff up with the president,’” Taylor said. “‘He doesn’t want to talk about it and he’s just going to go off the rails.’”

Mulvaney told POLITICO that he doesn’t recall meeting Taylor.

“I don’t recall the conversation, because I don’t ever remember talking to anyone by that name,” he said. “I dealt with Secretary [Kirstjen] Nielsen, then acting-Secretaries [Kevin] McAleenan and [Chad] Wolf. There wouldn’t really be any reason for me to deal with their assistants.”

Taylor said his biggest regret from his time at DHS was that they couldn’t do more to secure U.S. elections from foreign interference.

“We did a lot in that space but we had to do it despite the president, not because of the president,” he said.

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