Tags: Kellyanne Conway | Trump | Intel | Russia | Hacks

Kellyanne Conway: No 'Credible, Complete Evidence' Russia Hacked Election


By    |   Monday, 12 Dec 2016 08:43 AM

President-elect Donald Trump "respects the intelligence community," but there is not "credible and complete evidence" that Russia interfered with the 2016 election on his behalf, senior adviser Kellyanne Conway told two different morning news programs Monday.

"We don't want intelligence interfering in our politics," Conway told NBC's "Today" show anchor Matt Lauer. "But we also don't want politics interfering with our intelligence. That's what's happening here."

Over the weekend, articles appeared in The Washington Post and The New York Times concerning a secret CIA assessment that connected Russian interference with the results of the election, but Conway on Monday said the stories were based on "leaked, unsourced, non-sources, if you will. That's what hearings are for and that's what the investigations are for."

Lauer told Conway that Trump used "leaked, unsourced information" against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign, and "now, he doesn't even seem to care where it's coming from," but Conway disagreed with his assessment.

"He cares very much about our intelligence community and any information that they may divulge," said Conway. "That's number one. Number two, you are seeing the FBI and CIA don't even agree on what the conclusion is here. That's very clear in the Washington Post" article, very clear in the Newsweek article from last night."

Instead, Clinton's camp is still trying to find a scapegoat for losing the election, "whether it's the recount, it's [FBI Director] Jim Comey's fault, it is Russian interference, it is a group of people we've never met," said Conway.

Conway, also appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America," told anchor George Stephanopoulos that on Sunday, Trump called the accusations of Russian involvement in his win "laughable and ridiculous" because of the specific conclusions, but also insisted that he respects the intelligence community.

On ABC, Stephanopoulos pointed out that in October, 17 intelligence agencies pointed to Russian involvement, but Conway stressed that Intelligence Committee meetings are continuing their probes, and more investigations will open.

"I know Sen. [John] McCain said they would go ahead and open up hearings," said Conway. "The executive [branch] would never meddle in that."

Trump, in an interview with Fox News' Chris Wallace airing on Sunday, commented that the hacks into the Democratic National Committee's servers and into the emails of Clinton campaign head John Podesta could have come from anywhere, including Russia, China, or "some guy in New Jersey," and Lauer commented in the NBC interview that it does not seem Trump knows the gravity of the situation.

"Indeed he does," said Conway. "He also understands the gravity and consequences of not having a great relationship with Russia now. We just simply don't. That's why some of his secretary of state picks are people who are already involved in Russia."

The front-runner for the secretary of State seat, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, "has dealt with Russia over a number of years, that's important because we just can't have somebody go in there with no relationship," said Conway.

Tillerson, she continued, is an "oil man" who has been in Yemen, China, Russia and the Middle East.

Conway told "CBS This Morning" Trump will make his final announcement on the secretary of State post midweek.

"He has had a very wide selection, wide birth of qualified men and women, and it looks like Rex Tillerson is a leading candidate until the president-elect makes that announcement," she told anchor Charlie Rose, while insisting there are other candidates still in the running.

"Obviously , there has been a lot of buzz about Rex Tillerson of late," Conway told Rose. "[He is] a very unique, Trumpian kind of pick."

His ties with Russia and its President Vladimir Putin have come under fire from critics from both parties, but on Monday, Conway said their relationship is purely professional.

"It is not like Vladimir Putin and Rex Tillerson are pounding down vodka at the local bar," Conway told Lauer. "But they deal with each other through business interests. Most importantly, anybody in President Trump's Cabinet, particularly the secretary of State, that person will advance the interests of the U.S. everywhere and that person will advance the agenda of Mr. Trump."

The official announcement could come this week, but Conway said everyone should appreciate the "time and deliberation and reflection" Trump and his transition team has taken on the State position.

"The world is a dangerous place," Conway told Lauer. "We don't have great relationship everywhere. Picking someone who will advance U.S. Interests and the Trump doctrine is incredibly important. Not to be rushed."

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President-elect Donald Trump "respects the intelligence community," but there is not "credible and complete evidence" that Russia interfered with the 2016 election on his behalf, senior adviser Kellyanne Conway told two different morning news programs Monday.
Kellyanne Conway, Trump, Intel, Russia, Hacks
Monday, 12 Dec 2016 08:43 AM
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