NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — President-elect Donald Trump said he had a “constructive meeting and conversation” with intelligence leaders on Friday but insists that any hacking attempts had “absolutely no effect” on the election outcome.
Trump released a statement soon after the intelligence leaders’ report on Russian’s alleged hacking attempts to influence the presidential election.
“I have tremendous respect for the work and service done by the men and women of this community to our great nation,” he said.
Trump did not say whether he agreed with the conclusions, but said his own evidence that the outcome was unaffected was because “there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines.”
“There were attempts to hack the Republican National Committee, but the RNC had strong hacking defenses and the hackers were unsuccessful,” he said.
Meanwhile, Trump also tweeted a statement on the shooting at Fort Lauderdale International Airport Friday that left at least 5 dead and several others injured saying he was monitoring the “terrible” situation.
At the briefing, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and FBI Director James Comey pointed to multiple motives for Moscow’s alleged meddling.
They briefed senior lawmakers Friday morning. President Barack Obama received a briefing on Thursday and a declassified version of the report is expected to be released at some point.
Several advisers joined Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence for the briefing. That included his incoming chief of staff and national security adviser and the chiefs of the CIA and Homeland Security department.
On Capitol Hill, the intelligence officials and lawmakers refused to comment when they left the briefing for lawmakers. Asked how the briefing went, National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers responded, “Have a nice day.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the intelligence report was “quite a stunning disclosure” and said parts will be released today, though she didn’t provide any specifics. She made the comments at her weekly Capitol Hill news conference.
Since winning the election, Trump has repeatedly questioned intelligence officials’ assessments that Russia was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and individual Democrats like Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Trump remained dubious about the assertion even on the eve of his intelligence briefing, asking how officials could be “so sure” about the hacking if they had not examined DNC servers.
“What is going on?” he wrote on Twitter.
The country’s top intelligence leaders are fresh from testifying on Capitol Hill before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
“I don’t think that we have ever encountered a more aggressive or direct campaign to interfere with our election process than we have seen in this case,” Clapper testified. “The hacking was only one part of it. It also entailed, you know, classical propaganda, disinformation, fake news.”
CBS News has learned Russia’s hacks were intended to hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign and that Russian officials expressed pleasure when their plan was successful.
But Clapper stopped short of saying whether the hacking cost Clinton the election.
“There’s no way to gauge that,” he said.
Brennan says he hopes Trump will learn to be more confident in their findings.
“Yes, he’s making comments about the intelligence,” he said. “But let’s see what happens after the inauguration.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan says Trump is right to be concerned about partisans trying to use Russian hacking to question the legitimacy of his victory.
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