Trump says for first time: I think Russia hacked Dems [Video]

Trump says for first time: I think Russia hacked Dems [Video]
  1. Trump says for first time: I think Russia hacked Dems
    President-elect Donald Trump speculated Wednesday that U.S. intelligence agencies might have leaked details about a classified briefing with him that included unsubstantiated allegations that Russia had collected compromising sexual and financial information about…
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WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump speculated Wednesday that U.S. intelligence agencies might have leaked details about a classified briefing with him that included unsubstantiated allegations that Russia had collected compromising sexual and financial information about him.

He said any such information was not true: “It’s all fake news. It’s phoney stuff. It didn’t happen.”

“I think it’s pretty sad when intelligence reports get leaked out to the press,” Trump said.

His comments marked his latest round of insults thrown at U.S. intelligence agencies, the same agencies he will have to rely on to help him make major national security directions once he takes the White House next week.

Trump was referring to a dossier that contained unproven information about close co-ordination between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, including details about Russian hacking into Democratic accounts as well as unsubstantiated claims about unusual sexual activities by Trump, attributed to anonymous sources. The Associated Press has not authenticated any of the claims.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said later Wednesday that he had spoken with Trump about the dossier and told him the intelligence community “has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable.”

Clapper also said in a statement released Wednesday night that he told Trump he does not believe any leaks from Friday’s meeting between intelligence officials and the president-elect came from the intelligence community.

On Tuesday, FBI Director James Comey refused to say whether the FBI was investigating any possible ties between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign, citing a policy not to comment on what the FBI might or might not be doing.

There is nothing to suggest the intelligence agencies told news outlets that a summary of the dossier was included in Trump’s classified briefing last week about Russian election meddling. President Barack Obama was also briefed on the dossier last Thursday.

A summary of the allegations was included as an add-on to a classified assessment of Russia’s suspected election- interference efforts. That classified report tied Russian President Vladimir Putin to the hacking of email accounts of the Democratic National Committee and individual Democrats, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta.

Trump acknowledged Wednesday, for the first time, that he believed Russia was responsible for the hacking.

“As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” Trump said. “But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people.”

Trump condemned what he said was “maybe” leaks by U.S. intelligence agencies.

It would be a “tremendous blot on their record if they in fact did that. A tremendous blot, because a thing like that should have never been written, it should never have been had and it should certainly never been released,” Trump said at a news conference.

He likened the release to Nazi Germany, saying it is “disgraceful that the intelligence agencies allowed any information — that turned out to be so false and fake — out.”

The CIA and the office of the director of national intelligence declined to comment. Although they had not been able to verify details in the dossier, the belief in the intelligence community was that it needed to be shared with Trump, given how many media outlets were already aware of the file.

The briefing about the separate dossier was first reported Tuesday by CNN.

Shortly after news reports were published about the dossier, Trump tweeted: “FAKE NEWS - A TOTAL POLITICAL WITCH HUNT!”

Before he was even briefed on the intelligence agencies’ findings last week, Trump called the focus on the Russian hacking a political witch hunt, as well.

Similar denunciations came from Moscow. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the dossier as a “complete fabrication and utter nonsense.” He insisted that the Kremlin “does not engage in collecting compromising material.”

Collecting such material — known as kompromat in Russia — is standard operating procedure for the Kremlin.

“Kompromat is the life blood — one of the many life blood tactics of Russian intelligence agents,” said Laura Galante, a Russia expert and director of intelligence analysis at cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc. “Needless to say, the Russians are not going to say that they have compromising information about Donald Trump.”

The unsubstantiated dossier on Trump, which has been circulating in Washington for months, was compiled by a former Western intelligence operative, identified Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal as Christopher Steele of London-based Orbis Business Intelligence Ltd. Efforts to reach him or the company for comment were not immediately successful.


Tags: #Russia
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