Wednesday 13 December 2017

'CIA claim Russia helped me is ridiculous' - Trump

President-elect Donald Trump gestures as he takes the stage at a ‘Thank You USA’ tour rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at the weekend. Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar
President-elect Donald Trump gestures as he takes the stage at a ‘Thank You USA’ tour rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at the weekend. Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar

Nick Allen

Donald trump yesterday dismissed a CIA investigation that found that Russia intervened in the US election in an attempt to help him win as "ridiculous".

In a top secret report, the agency reportedly concluded with "high confidence" that Russian hackers accessed and made public embarrassing Democratic Party emails during the campaign with the specific aim of getting Mr Trump into the White House.

A group of Republican and Democratic senators called for an investigation, saying Russian meddling in the election should "alarm every American" and represented a "grave threat to our national security".

But the president-elect, who lost the popular vote by a margin of more than 2 million, told Fox News: "I don't believe it.

"I think it's ridiculous. It's another excuse. Every week it's another excuse. We had a massive landslide victory.

"They have no idea if it's Russia or China, or somebody.

"It could be somebody sitting a bed some place.

"I think the Democrats are putting it out because they suffered one of the biggest defeats in the history of this country and they're embarrassed.

"Personally, it could be Russia, I don't really think it is, but who knows?"

The FBI did not concur with the findings of the CIA, opening up a split in the US intelligence community.

Reince Priebus, who will be Mr Trump's White House chief of staff, said the suggestion that Russia had influenced the outcome of the election was "insane".

Four high-profile Democratic and Republican senators yesterday issued a joint statement saying Russian interference in the US electoral process should be investigated further by Congress.

The 'Washington Post' reported on Friday that intelligence agencies had identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks.

"For years, foreign adversaries have directed cyber attacks at America's physical, economic, and military infrastructure, while stealing our intellectual property," Democrat senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Jack Reed of Rhode Island, said, along with John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

"Now our democratic institutions have been targeted. Recent reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American.

"We are committed to working in this bipartisan manner, and we will seek to unify our colleagues around the goal of investigating and stopping the grave threats cyber attacks conducted by foreign governments pose to our national security."

Mr Trump also explained why he had not been receiving intelligence briefings daily, as is customary for an incoming president.

He said: "I get them when I need them. I'm, like, a smart person. I don't need to be told every day 'Sir, nothing has changed'. If something changes let me know. Call me, I'm available on one minute's notice."

The billionaire also ramped up his rhetoric against China, saying he would not necessarily be bound by America's 'One China' policy, which includes not recognising Taiwan as a sovereign nation.

Brushing aside Chinese concerns that he accepted a call from the President of Taiwan, Mr Trump said: "I don't want China dictating to me. Why should some other nation be able to say I can't take a call?"

The businessman said he had turned down several deals worth a total of $1bn last week because they could have been perceived as a conflict of interest.

Mr Trump also said he had been "surprised" by how well he got along with President Barack Obama and had spoken to him three times since the election.

He continued to express an "open mind" on the existence of climate change, saying: "Nobody really knows".

Asked if the US would withdraw from last year's Paris climate change agreement Mr Trump said he was "studying" it.

Mr Trump discussed his Cabinet appointments, which he said were not aimed at tearing down Mr Obama's legacy on issues such as the environment. (© Daily Telegraph London)

Irish Independent

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