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President-elect Trump calls CIA Russian hack findings 'ridiculous'
December 17, 2016
President-elect Donald Trump is calling the CIA's report that Russian hackers purposefully meddled with the American election in an effort to help him win "ridiculous." Trump made the statement in a televised Fox News interview over the weekend.
The Russian hacking revelations came to light in a Washington Post article that detailed the CIA report that was conducted in secret. The report claims that Russian hackers were doing more than trying to undermine the U.S. democratic system — which intelligence officials began investigating back in September. They were trying to sway the vote in favor of Mr. Trump.
In response to the piece, Trump and his transition team said, "These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction," according to the Washington Post. The written statement pointed out one of the agency's biggest, and most recent, mistakes.
The president-elect also told Time magazine, “I don’t believe they interfered [in the election],” according to the Washington Post. He went on to explain that the alleged hacking, “could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”
The jab, and lack of confidence in the nonpartisan agency, is unprecedented but not surprising. The president-elect has written off Russian interference with the American election process for months — even mocking it, calling on the Russians to hack and release the 30,000 Clinton emails during a rally back in July.
The Washington Post reports that the intelligence community, on the other hand, is almost unanimously in agreement that the Russians did take part in cyber espionage to interfere with the American democratic process in favor of Trump. The intelligence community's claims are equally unprecedented.
The president-elect and Mr. Putin have shown public admiration for one another — Putin calling Trump "very colorful," and "absolutely the leader in the presidential race." Mr. Trump has also called Putin "a strong leader."
The mutual public compliments have caused many to believe Trump is "pro-Russia." Representative Adam B. Schiff of California told the New York Times, “If the Russians were going to interfere, why on earth would they do it to the detriment of the candidate that was pro-Russian?”
The Washington Post reports that the CIA findings also identified individuals, working on behalf of Russia, who handed over thousands of hacked emails to the infamous whistleblower site Wikileaks.
The stolen emails are from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, among others. The aforementioned, though, made the biggest splashes in the media. Spy and intelligence experts explain that the dump was all in an effort to sway the election toward Trump.
But the New York Times points out that the latest revelation about Russian hacking during the presidential race isn't based on specific new intelligence itself, but rather an analysis of "overwhelming circumstantial evidence" that's been collected for months.
Now, CNN reports a bipartisan group of Congressmen — led by incoming Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. John McCain — is asking the CIA to hand over as much information they can from the report.
"That any country could be meddling in our elections should shake both political parties to their core," Sen. Schumer told the press in a statement. "The goal is to find out how extensive it is, how deep this is, what countries are doing this — it won't be limited to just Russia and then to come up with conclusions on how to stop it."