President-elect Donald Trump rejected the CIA’s reported conclusion that Russia intervened to help him win the US election saying in an interview broadcast on Sunday that the idea is “ridiculous.”
“I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it,” Mr Trump said in an interview with Fox News Sunday recorded on Saturday.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” Mr Trump said. US intelligence had previously linked Russia to leaks of damaging email from Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign but saw it as a broad bid to undermine confidence in the US political process.
On Friday, however, the Washington Post reported that the CIA has concluded that the aim of the cyber intrusions was to help Mr Trump win the election.
Mr Trump dismissed the reports as an attempt by Democrats to excuse their embarrassing election loss. He said there was “great confusion” within the intelligence agencies, whom he portrayed as fighting among themselves.
“Nobody really knows. And hacking is very interesting. Once they hack, if you don’t catch them in the act, you’re not going to catch them. They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place. They have no idea,” he said.
Mr Trump, who has eschewed traditional daily intelligence briefings, suggested he intends to bring in his own people to lead the spy agencies once he assumes office.
“We’re going to have different people coming in because we have our people, they have their people. And I have great respect for them. But if you read the stories, the various stories, they’re disputing. And certain groups don’t necessarily agree.” Democratic senator Harry Reid also said FBI Director James Comey deliberately withheld information about Russian hacking in order to help elect Mr Trump.
Mr Comey had information showing that Russia sought to tip the November presidential election in Mr Trump’s favour.
“The FBI had this material for a long time,” he told MSNBC. “But he, Comey, who’s a Republican, refused to divulge this information about Russia interfering with the presidential election.”
Mr Comey “should be investigated by the Senate” and “other agencies of the government, including the security agencies because if there were ever a matter of security, it’s this,” Mr Reid said.
However, he added that he does not believe Attorney General Loretta Lynch should try to fire the FBI chief.