Trump calls CIA charge Russia influenced US election ‘ridiculous’

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NEW YORK, Dec 11 (APP): US President elect Donald Trump has said
the CIA’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the presidential election
is “ridiculous” and being used by rival Democrats as “just another
excuse” for his defeat of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“I think it’s just another excuse,” Trump told Fox News Sunday in
an interview broadcast Sunday. “I don’t believe it … Every week it’s another excuse.”
Meanwhile, Democrats and some Republicans have called for hearings
and investigations into the CIA’s conclusion that Russia authorized
hacking and other tactics in order to help Trump and hurt Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton during the campaign.
Senator John McCain, a senior Republican leader, issued a joint statement Sunday with incoming Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, calling for a bipartisan effort to explore the allegations and defend the nation against cyber attacks. The two were joined by Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican, and Senator Jack Reed, a Democrat, the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“For years, foreign adversaries have directed cyberattacks at
America’s physical, economic, and military infrastructure, while stealing our intellectual property,” their statement said.
“Now our democratic institutions have been targeted. Recent reports
of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American.”
In his Fox News interview, Trump said Democrats were pushing the idea
of Russian involvement in an effort to explain their surprise election
loss.
He also said there was no way to know if Russia was behind the
hacking of e mail accounts belonging to Democratic and Clinton campaign officials.
“Once they hack if you don’t catch them in the act you’re not going
to catch them,” Trump said. “They have no idea if it’s Russia or China
or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place.”
Russia is believed to be a topic of presidential intelligence
briefings, though Trump does not receive them every day. He told Fox
News Sunday that he received the briefing “when I need it,” because it
tended to the same information day to day.
“I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every
single day for the next eight years,” Trump said, noting that Vice President elect Mike Pence was receiving frequent briefings.
Trump told Fox News that “very good people” do the briefings,
and he has told them: “’If something should change from this point, immediately call me. I’m available on one minute’s notice.’”
In other parts of the interview, Trump said:
“Executives and his children will run his various companies. The
New York City businessman said liquidating his assets and placing the proceeds in a blind trust would be impractical and time consuming
because so much his business involves real estate.
“You know, when you sell real estate that’s not like going out and selling a stock,” Trump said. “That takes a long time.”
Said Trump: “My executives will run it with my children. It’s a
big company, it’s a great company. But I’m going to have nothing to do
with management.”
Trump dismissed suggestions that foreign governments and others
would try to buy influence by buying into Trump products, such as
staying at his new hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.
His focus WAs on being president, Trump said, and he had rejected business deals in the wake of his political campaign.
“I turned down seven deals with one big player, great player, last
week, because I thought it could be perceived as a conflict of interest,” Trump said.
He is “open minded” about human impact on climate change, and what
can be done about it.
“Look, I’m somebody that gets it and nobody really knows,” Trump
said. “It’s not something that’s so hard and fast.”
While he is “studying” the Paris climate change agreement with
other countries, Trump indicated he would re start the Keystone and the Dakota Access pipelines after he takes office Jan. 20. The Obama administration blocked both pipelines.
He said the president of Taiwan called him to congratulate him, and
that it would have been “disrespectful” to have turned down the offer.
Given China’s objections to the call, Trump suggested he is not necessarily bound by the decades old “one China” policy in which
the US recognizes only the government of People’s Republic of China.
“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,” Trump said.
He is “getting very close” to naming a secretary of state.
Aides have identified ExxonMobil Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson as a leading candidate for the State Department post.
Asked about Tillerson, Trump said that he’s “much more than a
business executive,” and knows government officials around the world.
“He knows many of the players, and he knows them well,” Trump said.
“He does massive deals in Russia. He does massive deals for the company not for himself for the company.”
Trump took to Twitter on Sunday morning to say he has not made a
final decision: “Whether I choose him or not for ‘State’ Rex Tillerson,
the Chairman & CEO of ExxonMobil, is a world class player and dealmaker. Stay tuned!”