Tags: John Kirby | Russia | Hacking

John Kirby: Russian Hacking 'Confirms What We Have Known a Long Time'

(MSNBC/"Morning Joe")

By    |   Friday, 06 Jan 2017 12:52 PM

The classified report on the Russian hacking "confirms what we have known for a long time," State Department spokesman John Kirby said Friday.

"And that is that Russia did try to interfere in our electoral process to, at least, sow some discord and some doubt. That's, I think, beyond question," Kirby told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. 

"Now the motivation of it, and the degree, and the scope — I think all is going to come out in the report, but I think it's important we let the president-elect get this briefing himself, before we jump ahead of that," Kirby said.

"Morning Joe" cohost Willie Geist asked if Kirby believed that Russia engaged in the hacking in support of Donald Trump.

"I think what we know to be true is they were trying to interfere in our process to sow doubt and discord, to try to interfere," he replied. 

"I also think that it's pretty obvious that they were certainly trying to hurt Mrs. Clinton in her efforts. That is clear. But beyond that, I'm really not at liberty to go."

Washington Post associate editor and "Morning Joe" panelist Eugene Robinson asked whether European leaders were also concerned about being hacked, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is in an upcoming election in that country.

"European leaders have been concerned about this for quite some time. I would definitely tell you that this has exacerbated that concern… They are all on alert right now and more perhaps than before," Kirby continued.

"This is something, unfortunately, our European colleagues are all too familiar with, with Russia's cyber intrusions and efforts to affect elections there on the continent," Kirby added.

Kirby said there is an upside to Trump achieving a good relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin because "having a healthy bilateral relationship with Russia is not a bad thing and it's something we worked on ourselves in this administration."

"It's complicated, though. Where our interests with Russia can coincide, we were able to work on things like the Iran deal and climate. We thought we would get there with Russia on Syria and that, obviously, didn't happen and certainly not in the same place with Russia with respect to Ukraine."

Russia is pursuing its own interests without regard to the U.S., Kirby said, and he believes Trump's administration will begin to see that.

"I think that they will find that it is going to be complicated, it's going to be difficult with this particular administration over there in Moscow," he added. 

David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist and panelist on the show, asked Kirby if Secretary of State John Kerry had plans for his last two weeks in office, such as a peace deal in Yemen.

"I'll tell you what I can tell you," Kirby replied. "The two weeks he has left, he is going to work very, very hard on issues. Yemen, as you rightly pointed out, is one of them. I can't predict success on any particular front but I can tell you the secretary is still actively having conversations with foreign leaders about the situation in Yemen."

Kerry is also at work regarding Libya and with the Turkish foreign minister on Syria, said Kirby and "he is not going to leave any stone unturned."

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The classified report on the Russian hacking "confirms what we have known for a long time," State Department spokesman John Kirby said Friday.
John Kirby, Russia, Hacking
Friday, 06 Jan 2017 12:52 PM
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