Trump Freaks Out, Trashes CIA Over Probe Determining Russia Worked To Get Him Elected
President-elect Donald Trump delivered a harsh rebuke of a CIA investigation that determined Russian government operatives worked to tilt the 2016 presidential election in President-elect Trump’s favor.
“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” Trump said in a statement released by his campaign. “The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again,'” Trump added.
According to several news reports, U.S. officials briefed on a secret investigation said individuals with ties to the Russian government were involved in disseminating hacked emails from Democratic officials to the likes of WikiLeaks during the campaign season, according to reports. The motive, they said, was not simply to damage trust in the U.S. electoral system, but was specifically tailored to help Trump defeat his Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton.
“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators told the Washington Post. “That’s the consensus view.”
The report also states that the closed-door CIA presentation last week to lawmakers did not achieve a consensus from the 17 intelligence agencies, as there were “minor” disagreements stemming from unanswered questions, according to a senior U.S. official.
Earlier on Friday that President Obama had asked U.S. intelligence officials to conduct a “full review” of cyber attacks that occurred during the 2016 presidential election and to deliver a report to him before he leaves office on Jan. 20.
In a separate report from the New York Times, U.S. officials not only said they had “high confidence” that Russia helped prop up Trump during the later stages of the campaign season, but also that they believed Russians also hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems, not just those in Democratic organizations, but did not release any information from those attacks.
Ex-CIA director, retired Gen. Michael Hayden, expressed concern this week about Trump’s pushback against intelligence pointing to evidence of Russia meddling in the campaign.
“To have the president-elect of the United States simply reject the fact-based narrative that the intelligence community puts together because it conflicts with his a priori assumptions. Wow,” he said at a private forum in Manhattan Wednesday evening, according to The Washington Examiner.
“The data matters,” Hayden said. “He continues to reject the Russians did it .. and claims that it was politicized intelligence.”
Several top intelligence officials have accused the Russian government of meddling in U.S. political affairs by hacking the Democratic National Committee just before the party’s nominating convention this past summer, a claim the incoming Trump administration has repeatedly rejected.