During Wednesday testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson claimed that warnings about Russian interference in the 2016 election went unnoticed because of the “Access Hollywood” tape.
When addressing election security during the hearing, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D.-Calif., asked Johnson why, leading up to the 2016 election, the DHS failed to alert the American people that the Russians were attempting to interfere in the process.
“Well, senator, the American people were told,” said Johnson, who served as DHS secretary from 2013 until the end of the Obama administration.
According to The Hill, Johnson cited a statement released on Oct. 7, 2016, by he and then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper which declared that the intelligence community was confident the Russian government was responsible for efforts to interfere in the upcoming election.
“Frankly, it did not get the attention that I thought it should’ve received,” Johnson said. “It was below the fold news the next day, because of the release of the ‘Access Hollywood’ video the same day, and a number of other events. I was expecting follow-up from a lot of journalists, and we never got that because everyone was focused on the campaign and that video, and that debate that Sunday.”
JEH JOHNSON says Access Hollywood video helped bury his warning about Russian interference before the 2016 election, points out October 2016 intelligence community statement about it was “below the fold news” because of “the release of the Access Hollywood video the next day.” pic.twitter.com/Uswnk7OM4t
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 21, 2018
The Washington Post published its story regarding the “Access Hollywood” tape on Oct. 8, 2016. Recorded in 2005, the tape featured President Donald Trump boasting about groping and kissing women without their consent. Following the release of the tape, multiple women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump.
Trump later apologized for his remarks, describing them as “locker room talk.”