It was announced on Friday night that Russia intervened in the 2016 election specifically with the intention of helping President-elect Donald Trump win. This news comes from the CIA after the conclusion of a secret assessment.
A senior U.S. official reported about the revelation,
‘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. That’s the consensus view.’
The CIA initially shared its assessment with “key senators in a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill last week.” Officials report that, during the meeting, agency briefers told the select senators that it is “quite clear” that Russia’s primary goal was to help Trump win.
The CIA’s announcement builds upon a statement issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that was made in October. In that statement, the two agencies declared, “The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.”
Donald Trump’s transition team released a statement shortly after the announcement was made about the CIA’s most recent findings. In the brief, two-sentence statement, Trump’s team questioned the CIA’s credibility and encouraged the American people to “move on.”
‘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.”‘
Trump team releases statement on claims of foreign interference in US election: pic.twitter.com/uZQizVoxa6
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) December 10, 2016
In addition to being dismissive and painfully short, the Trump team’s statement is also inaccurate.
Trump and his team have often referenced his “landslide” Electoral College victory over Hillary Clinton. However, it has been proven time and again that Trump’s victory was not “one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history.” According to FactCheck.org, Trump’s margin of victory was one of the smallest in history.
The news about Russia’s interference comes shortly after Trump told Time magazine — the publication that named him “Person of the Year” — that he didn’t think Russia had any involvement in the election.
“I don’t believe it. I don’t believe they interfered,” he said.
Trump also denied knowledge about Russia’s involvement before his interview with Time. He made a similar statement during a presidential debate, when he said that he didn’t know whether or not it was Russia behind the DNC hackings. “It could be Russia, but it could be China, could also be lots of other people. It could be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”
Featured image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images.