Donald Trump has been refusing to admit that Russia did interfere with the presidential election despite the fact that the FBI, the CIA, and 17 other intelligence agencies now say that it was, in fact, Russia. And astonishingly, even after his big intel briefing on Friday, he still refuses to admit the fact.
Our top intelligence agencies have been saying for weeks now that Russia hacked the DNC and John Podesta and interfered in our election for the purpose of helping Donald Trump. Everyone seems to be in general agreement about this fact. Well, everyone except the President Elect and his surrogates, that is.
When pressed about Trump’s denial in the face of facts, several of his surrogates assured us that this would likely change after he had an official intelligence briefing on the issue. (Which begs the question: why hasn’t Trump been taking his daily briefings; perhaps if he had he would have a clue right now.)
Leading up to Friday, Trump has not only refused to admit what we all now know, but he has also been disparaging the intelligence community itself.
The "Intelligence" briefing on so-called "Russian hacking" was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2017
For the record, that was a lie. The briefing was always scheduled for Friday.
He also gave an interview on Friday morning to the New York Times where he called the attention to the Russian hacking “a political witch hunt.”
So on Friday afternoon, he finally did sit down with the Director of National Security James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and FBI Director James Comey.
But, again, following the meeting he refused to condemn Russia.
It appears there is one of two reasons that Trump has dug his heels in on this. Either he is driven by his own massive ego and just doesn’t want to admit that he had help winning the election. Or he is protecting Russia for unknown reasons. Both options are alarming.
Here’s Trump’s post-briefing statement:
I had a constructive meeting and conversation with the leaders of the Intelligence Community this afternoon. I have tremendous respect for the work and service done by the men and women of this community to our great nation.
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. There were attempts to hack the Republican National Committee, but the RNC had strong hacking defenses and the hackers were unsuccessful.
Whether it is our government, organizations, associations or businesses we need to aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks. I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office. 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. Two weeks from today I will take the oath of office and America’s safety and security will be my number one priority.