President-elect Donald Trump continues to reject conclusions reached by US intelligence agencies on Russian involvement in the 2016 election, and on Saturday defended his close ties with Russia, calling the Intel community ‘stupid’ for thinking his close ties with the Kremlin are a bad thing.
“Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only ‘stupid’ people, or fools, would think that it is bad,” Trump tweeted.
Trump’s harsh comments come one day after he received intelligence stating that the Russian government hacked Democratic Party groups and individuals during the election, and that Vladimir Putin personally directed the cyber attack to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign and help Trump win the election.
The US intelligence community concluded in a report publicly released Friday that the Russian President ordered an “influence campaign” to harm Clinton’s chances of being elected president.
The intelligence report cited “a significant escalation” in longtime Russian efforts to undermine the American democratic process.
Trump, however, has insisted Russia did not have an impact on the election results.
“Intelligence stated very strongly there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election results. Voting machines not touched!” Trump tweeted on Saturday.
He also blamed the Democratic Party for being the victim of an international cyber crime.
“Gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee allowed hacking to take place. The Republican National Committee had strong defense,” he tweeted Friday night.
However, the intelligence noted multiple avenues in which Russia attempted to make sure Clinton lost. And the US intelligence community released several new pieces of information to support its conclusions Friday, according to CNN.
“Moscow’s influence campaign followed a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations –such as cyberattacks– with overt efforts by Russian government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries and paid social media users or ‘trolls,’ ” the report found.
Trump has repeatedly praised Putin’s leadership style, even after the Intelligencer report revealed the Russian leader committed an act of war against U.S. democracy.