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Donald Trump Still Doesn't Think the Russians Influenced the Election in His Favor

After reviewing a full report from the US intelligence community, the president-elect concluded the hacks had "absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election."
January 6, 2017, 8:53pm
Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, DC. Photo via Flickr user Gage Skidmore

On Friday, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, and John Brennan, the head of the CIA, presented President-elect Donald Trump with a full US intelligence report regarding Russia's involvement in the 2016 election cyberattacks. After reviewing what some US officials have claimed to be conclusive evidence that Russia was not only behind the hacks but gave damaging information on Hillary Clinton to WikiLeaks via a third party, the president-elect remained firm on his stance that the hacks did not influence the election in his favor.

In a statement released from his transition team Friday afternoon, Trump said, "While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups, and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses, and organizations including the Democrat National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines."

Earlier this week, multiple US intelligence officials told the Washington Post that there were a "variety of different exhibits" in the report that suggest Russia was trying to skew the election toward Trump, including intercepted communications from top Russian officials who were celebrating their involvement in his win.

"The Russians felt pretty good about what happened on Nov. 8 and they also felt pretty good about what they did," a senior US official told the Post.

On Thursday, Clapper addressed a Senate hearing echoing these sentiments about the intelligence report, saying, "I don't think we've ever encountered a more aggressive or direct campaign to interfere in our election process than we've seen in this case."

Although Trump told the New York Times that he felt the investigation was a "political witch hunt," he ultimately called the report "constructive" in his statement and vowed to create a plan that would help protect America from future cyberwarfare.

"The methods, tools, and tactics we use to keep America safe should not be a public discussion that will benefit those who seek to do us harm," Trump said. "Two weeks from today I will take the oath of office and America's safety and security will be my number one priority."

Shortly after Trump's statement, the US intelligence community released its findings to the public, so feel free to take a look and decide for yourself.