Donald Trump’s incoming chief of staff said Sunday that the president-elect doesn’t necessarily believe press reports that U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded Russians meddled in the presidential election in an effort to help him win.
“I think [Trump] would accept the conclusion if these intelligence professionals would get together, put out a report and show the American people they’re actually on the same page, as opposed to third parties through The Washington Post,” Priebus told host Chris Wallace. “I think that these guys should be straight with the American people and come out and say it. I don’t think they’ve been clear about it.”
The Washington Post reported that the CIA believes Russians carried out cyberattacks not only to sow confusion in the election, but also to tip the scales in Trump’s favor. John Brennan, the agency’s director, recently sent a letter to agency employees saying there was “strong consensus” among himself, FBI Director James Comey and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper as to what Russia’s goals were in the apparent meddling.
Trump has so far dismissed the allegations and mocked the intelligence community. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” he tweeted. Trump’s stance has created a rift between himself and several top Republicans who say any possible interference by Russian hackers needs to be fully investigated.
On Sunday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called for a select committee to investigate any Russian meddling in the election. “There’s no doubt they were interfering,” McCain said. “The question now is how much, what damage [was done], and what should the United States of America do. So far we’ve been totally paralyzed.”