Sunday, January 1, 2017

Trump Casts New Doubt on US Claim Russia Meddled in Election

President-elect Donald Trump is casting new doubt on the U.S. intelligence conclusion that Russia meddled in the presidential election through computer hacking, a finding that led President Barack Obama to impose sanctions on Russian spy agencies last week and expel 35 diplomats he said were spies.

Trump, in a tuxedo for a New Year’s Eve party at his Florida mansion, told reporters that he wants U.S. intelligence sources to be certain, “because it’s a pretty serious charge, and I want them to be sure.”

He said it would be “unfair” to make the allegation against Moscow if there was any uncertainty.

The president-elect, 19 days from his inauguration as the 45th U.S. president, said he knows more about Washington’s claim against Russia than has been publicly revealed and that “you’ll find out Tuesday or Wednesday.”

“And I know a lot about hacking,” he said. “And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don’t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation.”

Trump, who rarely uses email or computers although he frequently posts brief taunts and comments on Twitter, said no computers can keep confidential information secure.

“If you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old fashioned way, because I’ll tell you what, no computer is safe,” Trump said. “I don’t care what they say, no computer is safe.”

Trump offered two decidedly different New Year’s messages on his Twitter account, one that recalled the contentious 2016 presidential election and his stunning upset win over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“Happy New Year to all,” Trump wrote, “including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!”

Later, however, he said, “To all Americans, Happy New Year & many blessings to you all! Looking forward to a wonderful & prosperous 2017 as we work together to ‘make America great again,'” his campaign slogan.

Trump spent the waning days of 2016 at his compound along the Atlantic Ocean, meeting with aides about more top-level government appointments, starting work on his January 20 inauguration address, playing golf and spending time with his wife Melania and his family.

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