Donald Trump says that reported claims by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) accusing Russia of meddling in the US election to help him become president are “ridiculous” and just “another excuse.”
The billionaire made the statement in an interview to Fox News. “I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it,” he said.
He noted that these claims are being made by his opponents to explain the victory over Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton.
“I think it’s just, you know, they talked about all sorts of things. Every week it’s another excuse,” Trump said.
On December 9, The Washington Post reported on a secret assessment by the CIA which concluded that Russian intelligence hacked the servers of the Democratic camp and its leaders to specifically help Trump snatch the post.
According to an intelligence source, cited by the outlet, “Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected.”
“Nobody really knows, and hacking is very interesting. Once they hack, if you don’t catch them in the act you’re not going to catch them,”Trump countered in his interview.
“They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place,” he went on to say.
Meanwhile, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Trump’s fellow Republicans, teamed up with Democrats in a joint statement condemning the alleged Russian interference.
“For years, foreign adversaries have directed cyberattacks at America’s physical, economic, and military infrastructure, while stealing our intellectual property. Now our democratic institutions have been targeted,” the statement said.
The lawmakers also called on both Democrats and Republicans to work together since it “cannot become a partisan issue.”
“The facts are there,” McCain said on the CBS ‘Face The Nation” show, urging Trump to accept Russia’s alleged meddling in the US election.
Trump, for his part, said that Democrats are simply “embarrassed” by the defeat of their candidate. “Democrats are putting it out because they suffered one of the greatest defeats in the history of politics in this country.”
In October, the US officially accused Russia of staging hacking attacks on US institutions and organizations, but stopped short of releasing any official proof backing the serious allegations. Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, called the accusations nonsense.
Later that month, at the annual Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi, Putin denied any Kremlin involvement.
“Does anyone seriously think that Russia can somehow influence the choice of the American people?” Putin wondered. “Is America some sort of a banana republic?” he asked rhetorically.
In an interview to the Italian newspaper Corriere della sera, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the “whole story is from the field of myth-making.”