Trump dismisses CIA findings of Russian election tampering
Donald Trump says it’s “ridiculous” to believe Moscow helped him win the presidency and he rejects intelligence findings that Russia intervened in the U.S. election.
“I think it’s just another excuse,” Trump said in an interview aired on Fox News Sunday. “I don’t believe it … Every week it’s another excuse.”
During the interview, Trump also appeared to reject the idea of setting up a blind trust to manage his assets during his presidency, saying that his “executives” and his children would run his companies in his absence.
Democrats and some Republicans have called for hearings and investigations into the CIA’s conclusion that Russia authorized hacking and other tactics in order to help Trump and hurt Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton during the campaign.Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., issued a joint statement Sunday with incoming Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., calling for a bipartisan effort to explore the allegations and defend the nation against cyber attacks. The two were joined by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. and Sen, Jack Reed, D-R.I., the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“For years, foreign adversaries have directed cyberattacks at America’s physical, economic, and military infrastructure, while stealing our intellectual property,” their statement said. “Now our democratic institutions have been targeted. Recent reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American.”
In his Fox interview
Trump saidDemocrats are pushing the idea of Russian involvement in an effort to explain their surprise election loss.He also said there’s no way to know if Russia was behind the hacking of e-mail accounts belonging to Democratic and Clinton campaign officials.”Once they hack if you don’t catch them in the act you’re not going to catch them,” Trump said. “They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place.”
Russia is believed to be a topic of presidential intelligence briefings, though Trump does not receive them every day. He told Fox News Sunday that he receives the briefing “when I need it,” because it tends to the same information day-to-day.”I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years,” Trump said, noting that Vice President-elect Mike Pence is receiving frequent briefings.
Trump told Fox that “very good people” do the briefings, and he has told them: “‘If something should change from this point, immediately call me. I’m available on one-minute’s notice.'”
In other parts of the interview, Trump said:
Executives and his children will run his various companies. The New York City businessman said liquidating his assets and placing the proceeds in a blind trust would be impractical and time-consuming because so much his business involves real estate.”You know, when you sell real estate that’s not like going out and selling a stock,” Trump said. “That takes a long time.”
Said Trump: “My executives will run it with my children. It’s a big company, it’s a great company. But I’m going to have nothing to do with management.”Trump dismissed suggestions that foreign governments and others would try to buy influence by buying into Trump products, such as staying at his new hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.His focus is on being president, Trump said, and he has rejected business deals in the wake of his political campaign.
“I turned down seven deals with one big player, great player, last week, because I thought it could be perceived as a conflict of interest,” Trump said.
He is “open-minded” about human impact on climate change, and what can be done about it.”Look, I’m somebody that gets it and nobody really knows,” Trump said. “It’s not something that’s so hard and fast.”While he is “studying” the Paris climate change agreement with other countries, Trump indicated he would re-start the Keystone and the Dakota Access pipelines after he takes office Jan. 20. The Obama administration blocked both pipelines.
He is “getting very close” to naming a secretary of state.Aides have identified ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as a leading candidate for the State Department post.Asked about Tillerson, Trump said that he’s “much more than a business executive,” and knows government officials around the world.”He knows many of the players, and he knows them well,” Trump said. “He does massive deals in Russia. He does massive deals for the company — not for himself — for the company.”Trump took to Twitter on Sunday morning to say he has not made a final decision: “Whether I choose him or not for ‘State’- Rex Tillerson, the Chairman & CEO of ExxonMobil, is a world class player and dealmaker. Stay tuned!”
Said the president of Taiwan called him to congratulate him, and that it would have been “disrespectful” to have turned down the offer.Given China’s objections to the call, Trump suggested he is not necessarily bound by the decades-old “one China” policy in which the U.S. recognizes only the government of mainland China.”I don’t know why we have to be bound by a one-China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade,” Trump said.