President-elect Trump saw no link to the Russians attempting to sway the election his way
President-elect Donald Trump labeled his Friday briefing from top U.S. intelligence officials “constructive,” but stopped short in a statement released after the meeting of conceding Russia’s culpability in a wave of cyberattacks on Democratic political targets. He insisted that “there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election.”
Here is the text of his comments after the briefing provided to News Talk Florida by President-elect Trump’s transition team.
“I had a constructive meeting and conversation with the leaders of the Intelligence Community this afternoon. I have tremendous respect for the work and service done by the men and women of this community to our great nation.
“While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democrat National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines. There were attempts to hack the Republican National Committee, but the RNC had strong hacking defenses and the hackers were unsuccessful.
“Whether it is our government, organizations, associations or businesses we need to aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks. I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office. The methods, tools and tactics we use to keep America safe should not be a public discussion that will benefit those who seek to do us harm. Two weeks from today I will take the oath of office and America’s safety and security will be my number one priority.”
This was a key briefing for President-elect Trump who has been at odds with the United States intelligence community. Senior intelligence officials have said publicly that there is no way to judge the impact of the hacks on the final vote tally. Trump noted in his statement that there was no tampering with physical voting machines.
“They didn’t change any vote tallies,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told lawmakers on Thursday.
The meeting of around 90 minutes took place at Trump Tower. A Trump spokeswoman said the officials who gave the briefing were Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and FBI Director James Comey.
The conclusions of the report they presented Trump are “stunning,” according to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who told reporters early Friday that she and other congressional leaders had been briefed by members of the Intelligence Community before they traveled to New York to outline their findings to Trump.
The president-elect says a team will create a plan within the first 90 days of his administration to combat cyberattacks. As to how his relationship with the intelligence will be once he takes office, that remains to be seen.