Trump voices new doubts about Russian efforts to sway U.S. vote
KONFRONTASI-President-elect Donald Trump voiced new doubts on Wednesday that Russian hackers attempted to influence the U.S. election on his behalf, accusing Democrats of lax security and saying WikiLeaks had denied Moscow was behind the documents it made public.
Trump, in a spate of notes on Twitter, continued to raise questions about the findings by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia was behind a series of leaks that embarrassed Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign ahead of the Nov. 8 vote.
Documents stolen from the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, Clinton's campaign manager, were leaked to the media in advance of the election. One email showed the Clinton campaign received a question in advance of a town hall forum.
Trump resumed sending notes on Twitter about the hacking issue on Wednesday, saying, "(WikiLeaks founder) Julian Assange said 'a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta' - why was DNC so careless? Also said the Russians did not give him the info!"
Trump also quoted Assange as telling Fox News that U.S. media coverage of the matter was "very dishonest."
"Somebody hacked the DNC but why did they not have 'hacking defense' like the RNC (Republican National Committee) has and why have they not responded to the terrible things they did and said (like giving the questions to the debate to H)," Trump said.
"A total double standard! Media, as usual, gave them a pass," Trump said in the tweet.
Asked in Washington later about Trump's comments, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said the president-elect was simply voicing a "very sincere and healthy American skepticism about intelligence conclusions" he has been hearing.
"Given some of the intelligence failures of recent years, the president-elect has made it clear to the American people that he's skeptical about conclusions from the bureaucracy," Pence told reporters at the U.S. Capitol. "I think the American people hear him loud and clear."
Trump and Pence, who will take office on Jan. 20, are scheduled to receive a briefing from intelligence officials on the hacking issue on Friday. Trump has suggested the briefing was postponed to give intelligence officials more time to build their case.
"The 'Intelligence' briefing on so-called 'Russian hacking' was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!" Trump tweeted on Tuesday.
NBC News cited an intelligence official as saying the briefing was always planned for Friday.[mr/reuters]