Trump Hits Wall on Hack Claims; Russians Cheered His Election, Secret Report Says

 

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Trump Hits Wall on Hack Claims; Russians Cheered His Election, Secret Report Says

Donald Trump calls "ridiculous" a CIA assessment that Russia hacked emails to help him get elected. A new report provides damning evidence to the contrary. (Photos: Getty)

Donald Trump calls “ridiculous” a CIA assessment that Russia hacked emails to help him get elected. A new report provides damning evidence to the contrary. (Photos: Getty)

Donald Trump’s dissembling over Russian interference in the election has hit a wall. Details from a US intelligence report says high-level Kremlin officials “cheered” his election and considered it a “victory” over the United States. But that’s not all.

The report details intercepted messages showing Russian officials discussing the hacking campaign against Democrats, and even identifies Russian officials who authorized third parties to pass stolen emails to WikiLeaks, according to reports.

Trump was expected to be briefed on the report today (Jan. 6). In an interview with The New York Times he doubled-down on his denial calling the hacking investigation a “witch hunt.”

But officials who have seen the report say the evidence of Russian involvement is beyond question.

“By October, it had become clear that the Russians were trying to help the Trump campaign,” said one official who has seen the full report, according to reports.

Russia went to great lengths to conceal their involvement in the leak, using “a circuitous route” beginning with Russia’s military intelligence agency, known as the GRU and ending with WikiLeaks.

Unnamed officials have told media outlets the moves were also designed in part to give WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a veil of deniability. He’s denied Russia was involved in several interviews.

During a hearing yesterday (Jan. 5) before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper said Assange has absolutely no credibility in U.S. intelligence circles.

The statement was an indirect rebuke of Trump, who quoted Assange on Twitter, in an effort to sow further doubt about Russia’s involvement in the election.

“Julian Assange said “a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta” – why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!” he Tweeted.

After touching off an uproar, Trump walked back the claim in a follow-up Tweet, and once again blamed the mainstream media.

“The dishonest media likes saying that I am in Agreement with Julian Assange – wrong. I simply state what he states, it is for the people….” he wrote.

Clapper told the Committee he was “even more resolute” in his conclusion that Russia staged the cyber attacks.

Russia had a motive to want a Trump victory. Russian President Vladimir Putin considered Democrat Hillary Clinton an enemy for allegedly interfering in Russian affairs.

Throughout the election, Trump spoke glowingly of Putin and praised him when he declined to expel U.S. diplomats in retaliation for President Obama’s hacking sanctions.

Clinton and the Democratic National Committee weren’t the only targets of Russian cyber attacks, according to NBC News.

The White House, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the State Department and American corporations were also targeted. The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee were also hacked, but no emails were released, according to intelligence agencies.

Putin is increasingly using internet vulnerabilities to blackmail victims.

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