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WASHINGTON — U.S. President-elect Donald Trump says the Central Intelligence Agency’s conclusion that Russia interfered in last month’s presidential election to boost his chances of winning was “ridiculous,” calling it “just another excuse” by Democrats for his upset of former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
“I don’t believe it. If you take a look at what (the CIA) said, there’s great confusion,” Trump said Sunday. “Nobody really knows. They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed someplace.”
Trump told Fox News that he does not oppose President Barack Obama’s order to review cyberattacks the CIA concluded came from Russia during the lengthy presidential campaign, but said “you should not just say ‘Russia.’ You should say other countries also, and maybe other individuals.” The CIA said it had “high confidence” that Russia sought to help Trump win.
U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in the final stretch of the presidential campaign to help Trump win the presidency, and not simply meddle in the U.S. electoral process as previously believed, according to senior Obama administration officials. The conclusion is based to some extent on a finding that Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems, in addition to those of Democratic organizations, but disclosed only embarrassing emails from the Democrats, via WikiLeaks.
Reince Priebus, the head of the Republican National Committee and Trump’s pick for White House chief of staff, told ABC News the party was not hacked.
“The entire report is based on unnamed sources who are perhaps doing something they shouldn’t be doing by speaking to reporters or someone talking out of line about something that is absolutely not true,” Priebus said Sunday.
Bipartisan call for bipartisan probe
The Republican Trump’s rejection of the CIA conclusion came as the party’s losing 2008 presidential nominee, Arizona Senator John McCain, and three other senators called for an investigation into Moscow’s interference in the election, saying that it “should alarm every American.” McCain, along with Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrats Jack Reed and Chuck Schumer, said the United States needs to stop “the grave threats that cyberattacks conducted by foreign governments pose to our national security.”
Sen. James Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma, tweeted that he agreed with his colleagues that an investigation into possible Russian interference in the election should not be partisan.