Priebus: Trump accepts report Russia behind hacking

By Allen Cone  |  Updated Jan. 9, 2017 at 6:41 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter
| License Photo

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- President-elect Donald Trump accepts the findings of U.S. intelligence officials that Russian President Vladimir Putin meddled in the 2016 presidential election, according to Reince Priebus, the incoming chief of state.

"I think he accepts the finding," Priebus said on Fox News Sunday. "He's not denying entities in Russia are behind these particular hackings."

But Priebus, who was the GOP party chairman, blames the Democratic National Committee for allowing its computer system to be hacked.

"We have a DNC as a sitting duck . . . It matters," he said. "They lacked defenses. They lacked training. They allowed foreign governments into their system."

On Friday, Trump was briefed by top intelligence officials. Later, they released a declassified intelligence report that said Moscow had a "clear preference" for Trump in the White House race.

Trump has been skeptical the Russians were behind the cyberattacks, and in a statement Friday did not refer specifically to Russia's role in the presidential campaign.

Priebus said that he hasn't asked Trump if he believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia tried to help Trump by discrediting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

He said that Trump "may very well" take action against Russia but noted that Russia and China have tried to influence elections outside their borders for "many, many years."

Trump said he wants to improve relations with Moscow.

Saturday on Twitter, he posted: "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only 'stupid' people, or fools, would think that it is bad! We have enough problems around the world without yet another one. When I am President, Russia will respect us far more than they do now and both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD!"

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said it's highly unrealistic Trump will get along with Putin.

"My suspicion is these hopes will be dashed pretty quickly," McDonnell said on CBS' Face the Nation.

"The Russians are clearly a big adversary and they demonstrated it by trying to mess around in our election," he said.

He said Trump's administration will include national security leaders who know Russians "are not our friends."

Two other senators, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and John McCain, R-Ariz., have pushed for an investigation of the role Russia played in the hacks but they are not discrediting Trump's victory.

"I think he's worried that inquiring into what Russia did in the election is going to undermine his credibility and his legitimacy," Graham said Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press.

"Quite frankly, I haven't heard any Democrat at all of prominence say that we doubt that Donald Trump won," he said. Putin's not the reason that Clinton lost and Trump won. I don't think anybody's saying that. So Mr. President-elect, that's not what we're trying to do. What we're trying to do is find out what the Russians did in our elections and make sure that other people including the Russians won't do it next time."

Graham and McCain appeared jointly on NBC's show.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories