According to The Washington Post’s anonymous sources, that were briefed by anonymous sources, U.S. officials said that the CIA allegedly concluded in a secret assessment that Russia actively interfered in the 2016 Presidential election in order to help influence a Trump win. According to the publication, individuals with connections to the Russian government have been identified as those who turned over thousands of leaked emails to Wikileaks from the DNC and John Podesta’s personal account. The suspected individuals were described by the officials as “known to the intelligence community” and “part of a wider Russian operation” to help Trump and hurt Clinton.
“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,” said a senior U.S. official to The Washington Post. “That’s the consensus view.”
“Before, there was confidence about the fact that Russia interfered,” an official told NPR. “But there was low confidence on what the direction and intentionality of the interference was. Now they [the CIA] have come to the conclusion that Russia was trying to tip the election to Trump.”
In a report by The New York Times, a U.S. official said that the assessment also found that Russian operatives had hacked the RNC’s computer systems as well but didn’t release the gathered information.
On Monday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest strongly suggested Donald Trump won as a result of the Russians.
“The emails that had been hacked and leaked by the Russians, these were emails from the (Democratic National Committee) and John Podesta, not from the (Republican National Committee) and Stephen Bannon,” Earnest said.
“It was the President-elect who over the course of the campaign indicated that he thought that President Putin was a strong leader,” he added.
President-elect Trump’s transition team released a statement on Friday:
“These are 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. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again.'”
On Sunday, Donald Trump appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace and called the CIA claim “ridiculous.”
“It’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it,” Trump told Wallace. “… Every week it’s another excuse. We had a massive landslide victory, as you know, in the Electoral College.”
“Nobody really knows, and hacking is very interesting,” Trump continued. “Once they hack, if you don’t catch them in the act you’re not going to catch them,” he said. “They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place.”