Hours after President Obama ordered a full report on possible Russian interference in the 2016 elections, President-Elect Trump’s transition team publicly attacked the U.S. Intelligence Community, dredging up CIA mistakes on Iraq from the Bush Administration to undermine assertions of Russian involvement in this year’s campaign.
“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” the terse statement from the Trump Transition read, in what was a direct rebuke of the CIA.
A senior U.S. official told the Washington Post, “It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected.”
“I am not surprised,” said former U.S. Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, who has been warning publicly for months that the Russians seemed to be up to no good.
But McFaul refused to take it a step further, and argue that any Russian involvement tipped the scales and decided the election.
“I’ve never said that,” McFaul wrote on Twitter. “I don’t consider (the) election outcome illegitimate.”
The Trump Transition statement was an extraordinary public rebuke of the Intelligence Community, which has already found itself at odds with the President-Elect over this issue of Russian involvement in pre-election hacking.
“American leaders should stand with our intelligence community, not Russia,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
And that’s what seems to be developing right now, as supporters of President-Elect Trump joined with him to push back against any supposed intelligence finding of Russian election interference.
The New York Times also reported that the same groups that hacked emails from Democrats were able to get into computer systems at the Republican National Committee as well, but that was sternly disputed by RNC officials.