Tags: Donald Trump | Russia | Trump | CIA | Russia

Spicer: 'Zero' Proof Russia Tilted Election, Denies RNC Was Hacked

By    |   Saturday, 10 December 2016 11:19 AM

President-elect Donald Trump's camp Saturday morning strongly pushed back against reports of a CIA secret assessment determining that Russia likely interfered in the 2016 election in his favor, with Republican National Committee Communication Director Sean Spicer demanding proof from a CNN anchor that Russian involvement affected the outcome.

"What proof does anyone have that they affected the outcome? Zero," Spicer said in a heated interview with CNN's Michael Smerconish. "Show me what facts have actually shown that anything undermined that election. Donald Trump won 306 electoral votes, 62 million Americans voted for him. So what proof do you have or anyone has that any of this affected the outcome of the election?"

On Friday, The Washington Post reported that the CIA found Russia intervened in the election on Trump's behalf, not just to undermine confidence in the electoral process. In addition, The New York Times reported that Russia had hacked into the RNC's computers but withheld the information it seized, a claim Spicer strongly denied Saturday.

Spicer's interview came after Trump's transition team Friday night tore into the CIA for the assessment that the Russia intervened in the presidential election on his behalf, dismissing the spy agency as the "same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction."

"The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history," the team said in an unsigned statement, reports CNN. "It's now time to move on and 'Make America Great Again.'"

The three-sentence statement, issued Friday night, met with shock from many pundits, who saw it as Trump's team siding with Russia and against the CIA, which he'll need to trust as president for assessments on foreign threats.

NBC's Chuck Todd tweeted that he expects the team will "walk back" the incendiary comment and that the statement was a sign that Trump doesn't believe a "single thing" from the agency:

In addition, as CNN noted on Friday, the CIA's leadership changed years ago after the reports on weapons of mass destruction made during President George W. Bush's administration led to our launching the war in Iraq.

The Post also reported that according to U.S. officials, the nation's intelligence service has several people with connections to Moscow who had leaked thousands of emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks.

Saturday morning, Spicer, who is serving as a spokesman for the Trump transition team, told Smerconish that the Times' assessment of the situation and its reports that the RNC's computers were hacked by Russia, are "false."

"The intelligence is wrong," he said. "It didn't happen. We offered The New York Times conclusive proof that it didn't happen. They refused to look at that...it didn't fit the narrative. The bottom line is, Michael, the intelligence is wrong because they're writing that the conclusion that they came to was based in part on the RNC was hacked. It wasn't hacked."

Spicer said the RNC has agencies it works with that are willing to help sort out the information, calling it "reprehensible" that the Times passed.

"If that's how the intelligence was based, then it clearly is wrong and we were willing to offer proof to that point," said Spicer. Also, the CIA determined that its information on the RNC was "inconclusive," and if it is now "so convinced, why, if the CIA is so convinced, why won't they go on the record like they did with the DNC [Democratic National Committee."

Spicer said he believe there are people within the nation's intelligence agencies, including the CIA, who are "upset with the outcome of the election," and are pushing an agenda.

"The facts don't add up," he told Smerconish. "The media sides with the unnamed sources...you guys are willing to run with whatever comes out is unnamed sources from unnamed agencies and yet the CIA itself won't go on the record."

Smerconish told Spicer that Trump himself had cast doubt before the election about whether he'd accept the results, and insisted that he was not arguing against him as a Democrat or a Republican, but "as an American," and complained that "instead of uniting against a common enemy in this case Putin and Russia and being pissed at the idea that he put his thumb on the scale in our election, instead you look at the result of the election and we like the result of the election and therefore we don't want to deal with this anymore."

On Friday, before The Post's article came out, the White House announced President Barack Obama has ordered a full review concerning whether hacking had influenced the election process, dating back to his first presidential election in 2008.

Trump, while on the campaign trail and in debates, has often praised Russian President Vladimir Putin's leadership skills, and told Time magazine, in an interview for his "Person of the Year" profile, that he does not believe Russia interfered, and that accusations from the intelligence community are motivated politically.

Smerconish on Saturday told Spicer that he is troubled that Trump, through his transition team's statement, is "already throwing under the bus the intelligence committee, with whom he's going to have to work on life and death matters."

"The New York Times in their story said that they based their conclusions on the fact that the RNC was hacked," Spicer shot back. "OK? If the RNC was not hacked, then that casts doubt on their conclusions. I don't understand why this is that difficult to understand."

Smerconish concluded by telling Spicer he appreciates his interview, but he'd "love to" talk directly with Trump.

"He's a watcher," said Smerconish. "Mr. President-elect, I'll treat you with dignity and respect. Come here and let me ask you questions."

And then, after Spicer was off air, the CNN host, clearly shaken by the argument, told his crew "I've lost my place, guys. I don't know where the hell we are."

Meanwhile, Trump has already been raising eyebrows with his early relationship with the CIA. CNN reported this week that Trump is able, as the president-elect, to receive top-secret intelligence briefings, but is taking part just once a week, while previous presidents-elect have been briefed more often.

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President-elect Donald Trump's camp Saturday morning strongly pushed back against reports of a CIA secret assessment determining that Russia likely interfered in the 2016 election in his favor, with Republican National Committee Communication Director...
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2016-19-10
Saturday, 10 December 2016 11:19 AM
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