Did the Kremlin influence the US elections? The CIA says yes and Congress has vowed to investigate, while Trump rejects the claims as a plot by the Democrats.
President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday called a recent CIA assessment of Russian hacking “ridiculous” and said he is not interested in getting daily intelligence briefings — an unprecedented public dismissal of the nation’s massive and sophisticated intelligence apparatus.
Trump’s remarks come as key congressional Republicans joined Democrats in demanding a bipartisan investigation into the Kremlin’s activities.
Asked whether he’s rejecting valuable intelligence on “Fox News Sunday,” Trump was defiant.
“I get it when I need it,” he said of the top-secret briefings sessions, adding that he’s leaving it up to the briefers to decide when a development represents a “change” big enough to notify him.
“I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years,” Trump said.
The CIA has concluded with “high confidence” that Russia sought to influence the US election on behalf of Trump. The finding alarmed lawmakers, including Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain who said Sunday he planned to put Senator Lindsay Graham, a staunch Trump critic, in charge of investigating the claim.
A Democratic Plot?
Separately, Trump also rejected the CIA’s conclusion that Russia tried to interfere with the presidential election and blamed “very embarrassed” Democrats for the public release of the assessment. The Washington Post first reported the CIA finding on Friday.
“It’s ridiculous,” Trump said of the CIA’s assessment.
He added, however, that he doesn’t necessarily oppose President Barack Obama’s order for a review of campaign-season hacking. “If you’re gonna to do that, I think you should not just say ‘Russia.’ You should say other countries also, and maybe other individuals.” The White House has said the probe would focus on any breaches by other countries, and past elections.
Trump’s incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus ,shrugged off allegations that Russia helped Trump win.
He said: “The Russians didn’t tell Clinton to ignore Wisconsin and Michigan,” two states she was expected to win that went instead for Trump.
“She lost the election because her ideas were bad. She didn’t fit the electorate. She ignored states that she shouldn’t have and Donald Trump was the change agent,” Priebus said on ABC’s “This Week.” Trump’s win, he added, “had nothing to do with the Russians.”