Reuters WASHINGTON (Reuters) — President-elect Donald Trump rejected as “ridiculous” U.S. intelligence reports that Russia intervened in the presidential election on his behalf through targeted hacking, putting him at odds with top lawmakers who vowed to investigate the findings.
He blamed Democrats for news reports on the intelligence findings and said he did not believe they came from the Central Intelligence Agency.
“I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it,” Trump said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
Trump’s reluctance to blame Russia for interfering in the U.S. election has raised concerns among U.S. officials who fear he will go soft on Moscow at a time when they are worried about its increasingly aggressive behavior on cyber-attacks and in Crimea, Ukraine and Syria.
A U.S. intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, harshly criticized Trump’s rejection of the assessment that Russian hacking was intended to boost the president-elect’s prospects in the Nov. 8 election.
“It’s concerning that intelligence on Russian actions related to the U.S. election is being dismissed out of hand as false or politically partisan,” said the U.S. intelligence official.
“The inclination to ignore such intelligence and impugn the integrity of U.S. intelligence officials is contrary to all that is sacred to national security professionals who work day and night to protect this country.”
The unusually harsh comment underscored the unprecedented tensions that Trump has created with the intelligence community he will command even before he’s been sworn into office.
Two leading U.S. Senate foreign policy voices from Trump’s own party expressed alarm on Sunday about the possibility of Moscow tipping the scales in favor of an American presidential candidate and promised to begin investigating immediately.
The Obama White House, which has ordered intelligence agencies to review cyber-attacks and foreign intervention in the 2016 election, has formally accused Russia of a campaign of cyber-attacks against Democratic Party organizations ahead of the presidential election.Speech