Trump ‘accepts’ Moscow behind US poll hacking
Washington, Jan 8 (News India)- President-elect Donald Trump accepts the US intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia engaged in cyberattacks affecting the US presidential election and may take actions in response, his incoming chief of staff said on Sunday.
Reince Priebus said Trump believes Russia was behind the intrusions into the Democratic Party organisations, though he did not clarify whether the President-elect agreed that the hacks were directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“He accepts the fact that this particular case was entities in Russia so that’s not the issue,” Priebus said on “Fox News Sunday”.
Priebus’ comments marked a significant shift away from the repeated dismissals by Trump of Russian interference in the presidential election. The Republican President-elect has rebuffed claims that Russia was behind the hacks or was trying to help him win, saying the intrusions could have been carried out by China or a 400-pound hacker on his bed.
It was the first acknowledgment from a senior member of the President-elect’s team that Trump has accepted that Russia directed the hacking and subsequent disclosure of Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential election.
With less than two weeks to his inauguration, Trump has come under increasing pressure from fellow Republicans to accept intelligence community findings on Russian hacking and other attempts to influence the election. A crucial test of Republican support for Trump comes this week with the first confirmation hearings of his Cabinet picks.
A US intelligence report released last week said Putin directed a sophisticated influence campaign, including cyberattacks, to denigrate Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and support Trump. The report concluded vote tallies were not affected by Russian interference but did not assess whether it influenced the outcome of the November 8 vote in other ways.
Priebus, the former Republican National Committee chairman who Trump picked to be his chief of staff, said Trump plans to order the intelligence community to make recommendations as to what should be done.
“Action may be taken,” he said, adding there was nothing wrong with trying to have a good relationship with Russia and other countries. Republican lawmakers pushed back on Sunday on the strategy of cozying up to Putin.