Political News

Ex-DHS head Johnson: Reported WH dysfunction a reflection of Trump's leadership

Posted January 4, 2018 7:39 a.m. EST

— Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Thursday that although every new administration struggles in its first year, the dysfunction of the Trump White House as depicted in a new book is unlike anything he's ever seen before.

"It's something fundamentally very different from what I know from working in the Obama White House," Johnson, who served under former President Barack Obama, told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day." "In the Obama White House, we tended to be very orderly, very disciplined, reflecting the President himself."

Published details from Michael Wolff's new book, "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House," that were revealed on Wednesday depict a chaotic White House marked by clashing egos, betrayal and revenge. Johnson said the depicted upheaval is a reflection of President Donald Trump's leadership.

"A White House reflects the personality of the President, no matter who's on the staff," Johnson said. "It all traces back to the personality and how the President himself conducts business."

In Wolff's book, Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, is reported to have called the 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer purportedly offering damaging information about Hillary Clinton "treasonous."

"Under federal election law, campaigns -- federal campaigns -- are not supposed to accept support from foreign citizens and most definitely foreign governments," Johnson said. "It's rather shocking to me that people would even -- responsible people would even accept such a meeting, given the stated purpose in that email."

Johnson also criticized Trump's decision to have the Department of Homeland Security look into potential voter fraud after he announced on Wednesday that he was dissolving a commission tapped to investigate the matter.

"Voting, voter fraud, voter integrity is not a security issue in this country. In a free and democratic society, how we vote, who votes is not a matter of homeland security," Johnson said.