Enlarge / US President-elect Donald Trump speaks during the USA Thank You Tour December 9, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.Don Emmert / Getty Images News
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President-elect Donald Trump has continued to flaunt reported assessments by the CIA that the Russian government specifically helped his campaign win the presidential election, calling them “ridiculous.” One of Trump’s top advisors, Kellyanne Conway, also dubbed them “laughable and ridiculous” on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
On Friday evening, The Washington Post reported that the CIA has “concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the US electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.”
Shortly after the Post published, the Presidential Transition Team sent out a statement to Ars and other media on Friday at 9:35pm ET, essentially mocking the intelligence community:
These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and “Make America Great Again.”
On Saturday, The New York Times quoted Gen. Michael Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency and the CIA under President George W. Bush, as expressing shock that Trump would so wantonly dismiss the opinion of the intelligence community.
“To have the president-elect of the United States simply reject the fact-based narrative that the intelligence community puts together because it conflicts with his a priori assumptions—wow,” he said.
In October 2016, just a month before the election, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security publicly said that Russian-led “thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process.”
Check the record book
On Fox News Sunday, Trump made his “ridiculous” remark, calling the report “just another excuse.”
“I don’t believe it,” he said. “I don’t know why—and, I think it’s—they talked about all sorts of things. Every week it’s another excuse. We had a massive landslide victory, as you know, in the electoral college. I guess the final numbers are down to 306 and she was at a very low number.”
Trump did not win the electoral college by a “landslide.” Electoral records show that his margin of victory in the electoral college was 46th out of 56 elections.
“If you look at the story and you take a look at what they said, ‘there’s great confusion, nobody really knows,'” Trump continued. “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 someplace. They have no idea.”
During the same interview, Trump also reportedly said that as president he would not receive the top-secret President’s Daily Briefing. Currently, the president-elect is reportedly only receiving it once a week.
Trump continued in his interview with Fox News Sunday that Vice President-elect Mike Pence, would receive the PDB in his place, largely because Trump finds it too repetitive.
“You know, I’m, like, a smart person,” he said. “I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years.”
“Now, there will be times where it might change,” he said in the interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace. “I mean, there will be some very fluid situations. I’ll be there not every day, but more than that. But I don’t need to be told, Chris, the same thing every day, every morning — same words. ‘Sir, nothing has changed. Let’s go over it again.’ I don’t need that.”
Sound the alarm
Also on Sunday, a bipartisan group of four senators, including Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), the chair of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, released a joint statement saying that “reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American.”
The statement continued:
Congress’s national security committees have worked diligently to address the complex challenge of cybersecurity, but recent events show that more must be done. While protecting classified material, we have an obligation to inform the public about recent cyberattacks that have cut to the heart of our free society. Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyberattacks.
This cannot become a partisan issue. The stakes are too high for our country. 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 that cyberattacks conducted by foreign governments pose to our national security.
The press contact listed, Dustin Walker, did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment.