President-elect Donald Trump, in an interview that aired Sunday, called “ridiculous” a CIA assessment that Russia attempted to tilt the election in his favor through hacking, blaming defeated Democrats’ embarrassment for the reports.
“I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it,” Trump said on a pretaped “Fox News Sunday” interview. “Every week it’s another excuse.”
Trump told host Chris Wallace that “nobody really knows” who was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and top advisers for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. “They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place. I mean, they have no idea.”
He also said he doesn’t need daily intelligence briefings, saying top advisers, including Vice President-elect Mike Pence, are being briefed.
Asked by Wallace why he was getting the daily briefings weekly, Trump said he was available more often if situations changed. But, “I’m like a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing and the same words every single day for the next eight years.”
The Washington Post and New York Times reported Friday that U.S. intelligence agencies concluded Russian agents tried to harm Democrat Hillary Clinton and boost the candidacy of Trump, who has said he wants improved relations with Russia and has praised Vladimir Putin, its president .
A steady stream of hacked emails from the DNC and top Clinton advisers were released during the election season through the website WikiLeaks.
A bipartisan group of four senators on Sunday called for an independent investigation of Russian meddling in the U.S. elections.
“Recent reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American,” said the statement from Sens. John McCain, (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee; Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.), who serves as ranking member of the Armed Services Committee.
Schumer said at a news conference Sunday that an investigation into the hacking “should be one of the first orders of business” when the Senate begins its new session on Jan. 3. He said the investigation should not be restricted to Russia and access classified materials.
“We should not turn away from any facts that might be uncomfortable, but we should not move forward and not jump to conclusions until we have the facts,” he told reporters in his Manhattan office. He added, “Our election process should be sacrosanct.”
Trump said he believed the reports of the security assessments came from embarrassed Democrats.
“I think the Democrats are putting it out because they suffered one of the greatest defeats in the history of politics in this country. And, frankly, I think they’re putting it out,” he said.
Obama has ordered a review of Russian involvement interfering with the election. Trump said, “If you’re going to do that, I think you should not just say Russia, you should say other countries also, and maybe other individuals.”
Trump also threw doubts on whether he’d follow long-standing U.S. policy toward China by not recognizing Taiwan’s independence. He created international shock waves when he took a postelection call from Taiwan’s president, the first president or president-elect to do so in decades.
“I fully understand the ‘One China’ policy. But I don’t know why we have to be bound by a One China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade,” he said.
Trump also said in the interview that he turned down seven deals worth a billion dollars with “one big player, great player” recently because it could be perceived as a conflict of interest. He said his children would be running his real estate business, but wouldn’t be making any deals.
“They’re not making deals either for my company,” he said. “I’m not going to do deals.”
With Alison Fox