Politics

Trump Hammers ‘Ridiculous’ Report on Russian Election Meddling

President-elect and allies dismiss new liberal 'excuse,' say Clinton lost 'because her ideas were bad'

President-Elect Donald Trump said the idea that the Russians may have swayed the outcome of the election by hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign was “ridiculous” and only constituted another “excuse” for those grasping at straws to delegitimize his victory during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”

Trump, as well as incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, hammered a secret CIA assessment from 17 unnamed sources that surfaced Friday claiming that Russian hackers were responsible for the Democratic National Committee data hacks and leaking information from Clinton’s campaign chairman to WikiLeaks. The report also stated that Russian hackers infiltrated the Republican National Committee but did not publish any data.

“The Russians didn’t tell Hillary Clinton to ignore Wisconsin and Michigan … she lost the election because her ideas were bad.”

“I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it,” Trump told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace. “I don’t know why and I think it’s just — you know, they talked about all sorts of things. Every week it’s another excuse.”

Trump added that the story is most likely being pushed by the Democrats after they suffered “one of the greatest defeats in the history of politics in this country.”

“And frankly, I think they’re putting it out. And it’s ridiculous,” Trump said. “We ought to get back to making America great again, which is what we’re going to do. And we’ve already started the process.”

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Priebus, the outgoing RNC chairman, said that Russian hackers were not responsible for Trump’s Election Day victory and insisted that Clinton lost “because her ideas were bad.”

“But, look, the Russians didn’t tell Hillary Clinton to ignore Wisconsin and Michigan, OK? I mean, I know it’s — this is an insane analysis. She lost the election because her ideas were bad,” Priebus told ABC News’ “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos. “She didn’t fit the electorate. She ignored states that she shouldn’t have and Donald Trump was the change agent, OK? So this is all very interesting, but Donald Trump won in an electoral landslide that had nothing to do with the Russians. Or whoever else.”

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a former primary opponent of Trump’s, echoed Priebus’ sentiments when he appeared on “This Week” directly afterward.

“But I will tell you, though, that Donald Trump got 70 percent in eastern Kentucky and I don’t think it had anything to do with the Russians,” Paul told Stephanopoulos. “He got 70 percent because in eastern Kentucky because we didn’t like what President Obama or Hillary Clinton wanted to do to our coal jobs. It didn’t have anything to do with the Russians.”

As for reports that the Russians may have hacked the RNC, as well, Priebus added that the RNC contacted the FBI “months ago” when the DNC hack became public knowledge and said that the agency has reviewed “all of our systems.” Priebus insisted that he knew of “no instance” where the RNC or its data were hacked by the Russians or by any other agents.

“We have hacking detection systems in place. And the conclusion was then, as it was again two days ago when we went back to the FBI to ask them about this, that the RNC was not hacked,” Priebus said. “I’m telling you as a source that, to the best of my knowledge, and based on conversations that the RNC has had with the FBI, that there — I know of no instance that you’re describing involving the RNC or the RNC’s data.”

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Regardless of who did the hacking and for what ultimate purposes they carried out their scheming, Priebus insisted that both he and Trump condemn the cyber attacks.

“I don’t care if it’s Russia or whoever. They shouldn’t — we’re going to protect Americans,” Priebus said. “We don’t want these countries or whoever else these people are hacking our country, our parties, our — we protect our Americans. We don’t like it. I’m — we’re against it.”

Paul agreed, adding that the U.S. needs “to get to the bottom of it” and “protect our information” against “adversarial countries.”

“We also need to learn how to protect our own information. And I think that’s important as well. But the government does need to learn from this and see if we can do a better job,” Paul said. “I think it’s a little premature to talk about response until we know exactly what happened, but we should know what happened. And we should know how to defend ourselves without question. This is an ongoing threat from a variety of sources around the world … But we have to protect our data. It’s very important.”

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