VIDEO - Jeh Johnson: Media focused on 'Access Hollywood' tape instead of Russian meddling ahead of election | TheHill

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."

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 21, 2018

Former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson said Wednesday that warnings about Russian interference in the 2016 election went unnoticed because of the “Access Hollywood” tape.

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinWhat’s genius for Obama is scandal when it comes to TrumpCoalition presses Transportation Dept. for stricter oversight of driverless carsSaudi energy deal push sparks nuclear weapon concernsMORE (D-Calif.) asked Johnson during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on election security why his department did not alert the American people leading up to the 2016 election that Russians were attempting to meddle in the process. 

“Well, senator, the American people were told,” said Johnson, who led DHS from 2013 until the end of the Obama administration.


He noted that he and then-Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperRevisiting America’s torture legacyPompeo taking lead role in planning Trump’s North Korea meeting: reportRepublicans on defensive over Russia report findingMORE issued a statement on Oct. 7, 2016, that stated the intelligence community was confident the Russian government was behind efforts to interfere in the upcoming election.

“Frankly, it did not get the attention that I thought it should’ve received. 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,” Johnson said Wednesday.

“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,” he added. 

The Washington Post published its story on the tape on Oct. 8, 2016. The tape, which was recorded in 2005, featured President TrumpDonald John TrumpKoch-backed group launches six-figure ad buy against HeitkampAnti-abortion Dem wins primary fightLipinski holds slim lead in tough Illinois primary fightMORE bragging about groping and kissing women without their consent.

Following its release, multiple women came forward to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct. 

Trump apologized for the comments and described them as “locker room talk.”

Johnson and current DHS head Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenBetsy Devos: School safety commission to consist of four Cabinet secretaries, no DemocratsSenate Intel releases summary of election security reportOvernight Cybersecurity: Trump-linked data firm Cambridge Analytica attracts scrutiny | House passes cyber response team bill | What to know about Russian cyberattacks on energy gridMORE  testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee amid concerns that Russia will attempt to meddle in this year's midterm elections.