Accessibility links

USA

Trump Aide Tamps Down Expectations About New Disclosures on Russian Hacking

  • Ken Bredemeier

FILE - Incoming White House press secretary, at the time RNC communications director and chief strategist, Sean Spicer arrives at Trump Tower, Nov. 14, 2016, in New York. Playing down previous statements by Donald Trump, Spicer says the president-elect will share his conclusions, not offer new revelations about election interference.

Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer is tamping down expectations President-elect Donald Trump will soon disclose new information about the U.S. intelligence finding that Russia hacked into computers of Trump's opponents and released damaging information to help him win.

"It's not a question of necessarily revealing," Spicer told CNN on Monday. "He’s going to talk about his conclusions and where he thinks things stand. He’s not going to reveal anything that was privileged or was shared with him classified. I think he can share with people his conclusions of the report and his understanding of the situation and make sure people understand there’s a lot of questions out there."

WATCH: Trump on Russia hacking


Trump told reporters New Year's Eve that he knows more than has been disclosed publicly about the allegations of Moscow interference in the election and that "you'll find out Tuesday or Wednesday."

The president-elect has cast doubt on U.S. intelligence conclusions that Moscow hacked into computers of Trump's political opponents and allowed release of the information through WikiLeaks to damage the chances of Trump's opponent, Democrat Hillary Clinton. The intelligence finding led President Barack Obama to impose sanctions last week on Russian spy agencies and officials, and expel 35 diplomats he said were spies. The envoys and their families arrived Monday in Moscow.

"We are going to actually get all the information, get briefed and then make a decision" on how to react to Obama's sanctions against Moscow, Spicer said. Trump has often praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, offering a decidedly friendlier view of him than most U.S. political figures.

‘Why the magnitude?’

In another interview Sunday, Spicer suggested Obama's expulsion of the Russians and the shutdown of two of their compounds in the United States may have been disproportionate to the hacking operation.

"One of the questions that we have is why the magnitude of this?" Spicer told ABC. "I mean you look at 35 people being expelled, two sites being closed down, the question is, is that response in proportion to the actions taken? Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't, but you have to think about that."

Trump said at his New Year's Eve party that he wants U.S. intelligence sources to be certain, "because it's a pretty serious charge, and I want them to be sure."

He said it would be "unfair" to make the allegation against Moscow if there was any uncertainty.

Vehicles pull up to a Russian aircraft to load freight at Dulles International Airport Dec. 31, 2016, in Sterling, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. The special flight arrived to pick up Russian diplomats expelled by President Barack Obama as part of sanctions he imposed on Russia for what the U.S. intelligence community agrees was state-sponsored Russian cyber meddling in the U.S. presidential election.
Vehicles pull up to a Russian aircraft to load freight at Dulles International Airport Dec. 31, 2016, in Sterling, Virginia, just outside Washington, D.C. The special flight arrived to pick up Russian diplomats expelled by President Barack Obama as part of sanctions he imposed on Russia for what the U.S. intelligence community agrees was state-sponsored Russian cyber meddling in the U.S. presidential election.

Trump, now 18 days from assuming power as the 45th U.S. president, said, "I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don't know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation."

Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, told ABC that Trump is alone in questioning the U.S. intelligence about Russian hacking involvement.

“If he’s going to have any credibility as president, he needs to stop talking this way," Schiff said. "This is the overwhelming judgment of the intelligence community and, frankly, all of the members of the intelligence committees in Congress, Democrats and Republicans. None of us have any question about this. The only one who does, apparently, is Donald Trump.”

Trump, who rarely uses email or computers, although he frequently posts brief taunts and comments on Twitter, said no computers can keep confidential information secure.

"If you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old fashioned way, because I'll tell you what, no computer is safe," Trump said. "I don't care what they say, no computer is safe."

Your opinion

Show comments

XS
SM
MD
LG