On Friday, The Washington Post revealed that Russia interfered in the 2016 election with the specific intention of helping Donald Trump to win. The confirmation came as the result of a secret assessment conducted by the CIA.
Since the story was published, Donald Trump and his team have been hard at work trying to brush aside the accusations and the potential consequences they may have for his upcoming presidency. In addition to the statement tweeted by Trump’s team Friday night, Trump also appeared on Fox News Sunday and, as can be seen in the Facebook video below, called the report “ridiculous” and “another excuse” and said that he doesn’t believe it.
Donald Trump’s incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus, also commented on the CIA’s report during his Sunday morning appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press. Priebus took things a step further than Trump, though. In addition to saying he didn’t believe the report, he also said twice during the interview that there is “no conclusive or specific report” to prove that the claims made by the CIA are true.
As POLITIFACT was quick to point out, though, a specific report does, in fact, exist, and it was made public on October 7 of this year. A joint statement from the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declared,
‘The U.S. Intelligence Community (USIC) is confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations…These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the U.S. election process.’
The existence of this report led POLITIFACT to deem Priebus’s statement “False.”
Yoshiko Herrera, a University of Wisconsin political scientist, spoke to POLITIFACT about this statement and Priebus’s response, which she referred to as “disturbing.”
Herrera said that politicians like Trump and Priebus should be focusing on these reports, rather than simply denying their existence. “There has been a specific report, and politicians who wish to comment on the issue should read and comment on that report rather than suggest there is no such report or that no work has been done on the topic,” Herrera said.
Watch Priebus’s Meet the Press interview in the video below, available via YouTube. The discussion about Russia begins around 4:45.
Featured image via Mark Wilson/Getty Images.