Donald Trump rejects CIA's report on Russian election interference

  • 12/12/2016
US President-elect Donald Trump (Reuters / file)
US President-elect Donald Trump (Reuters / file)

US President-elect Donald Trump says he doesn't believe reports that intelligence agencies concluded Russia intervened in the presidential election on his behalf, according to an interview broadcast on Fox News Sunday.

"I think it's ridiculous. I think it's just another excuse. I don't believe it," Mr Trump said in the interview, taped on Saturday. He blamed Democrats for putting out the media reports and said he did believe they came from the Central Intelligence Agency.

A senior US intelligence official told Reuters on Friday that intelligence agencies have concluded with "high confidence" that not only did their Russian counterparts direct the hacking of Democratic Party organisations and leaders, but they did so to undermine Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Democrats and some Republicans in Congress are calling for a full investigation into Russia's election year activities.

"Protecting the integrity of our elections is hindered when President-elect Trump and his transition team minimise or dismiss the intelligence assessments themselves," Representative Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said in a statement issued on Saturday.

Citing US officials briefed on the matter, the Washington Post reported on Friday that intelligence agencies had identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including the chairman of Ms Clinton's presidential campaign, to WikiLeaks.

US President Barack Obama has ordered intelligence agencies to review cyber attacks and foreign intervention into the 2016 election and deliver a report before he leaves office on January 20, the White House said on Friday.

Mr Obama's homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco, told reporters the report's results would be shared with lawmakers and others.

As summer turned to fall, Russian hackers turned almost all their attention to the Democrats. Virtually all the emails they released publicly were potentially damaging to Ms Clinton and the Democrats, not Republicans, the official told Reuters.

US intelligence analysts have assessed "with high confidence" that at some point in the extended presidential campaign Russian President Vladimir Putin's government had decided to try to bolster Mr Trump's chances of winning.

Donald Trump's election has led to unease over threats to peace in the Middle East, Iran's defence minister says, warning that a war would destroy Israel and the small Gulf Arab states.

Mr Trump's election victory has raised the prospect the United States will pull out of a nuclear pact it signed last year with Iran, which Barack Obama's administration has touted as a way to suspend Tehran's suspected drive to develop atomic weapons.

During his campaign, Mr Trump called the nuclear pact a "disaster" and "the worst deal ever negotiated" and has signalled he will take a harder line on Iran.

This has led to unease among US allies in the Gulf, Iranian Defence Minister Hossein Dehghan was quoted as saying by the semi-official Mehr news agency on Sunday.

"Even though a businessman, the assistants that ... [Mr Trump] has chosen may map a different path for him, and this has led to unease, particularly among Persian Gulf countries," Mr Dehghan told a security conference in Tehran, according to Mehr.

"Considering Trump's character and that he measures the cost of everything in dollars, it does not seem likely that he would take strong action against our country," he said.

"Enemies may want to impose a war on us based on false calculations and only taking into consideration their material capabilities...

"Such a war would mean the destruction of the Zionist regime (Israel) ... and will engulf the whole region and could lead to a world war," Mehr quoted Mr Dehghan as saying.

"Among other consequences of the war, would be the destruction of the city-states on the southern shore of the Persian Gulf, because they lack popular support," Mr Dehghan said, referring to small Western-allied Gulf states such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar.

Iran is an arch-enemy of Israel. Tehran and most Gulf states are on opposite sides in Middle East conflicts, with the Islamic republic an ally of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war and of the armed Houthi movement fighting a Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen.