Trump continues to ridicule talk of Russian meddling in election

Washington, Dec 13 (IANS) US President-elect Donald Trump returned to Twitter on Monday to pour additional scorn on an ostensible CIA report accusing Russia of interfering in the US election to benefit the Republican real estate magnate.

“Unless you catch ‘hackers’ in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking. Why wasn’t this brought up before election,” EFE news quoted Trump as asking in a tweet.

A story on Friday in The Washington Post about the purported CIA document has prompted calls for a bipartisan investigation of a possible Russian role in the election.

The President-elect quickly labelled the story “ridiculous”.

“Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory,” Trump tweeted on Monday.

The claim of Russian meddling arose following the publication by WikiLeaks of e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and from John Podesta, the chair of Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The DNC communications showed that that supposedly neutral body was anxious to ensure that Clinton defeated Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries.

The government and the Democrats said the e-mails were obtained through hacking carried out by groups aligned with Moscow.

After the Post reported on the CIA’s conclusions, Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsay Graham of South Carolina joined Democrats Charles Schumer of New York and Jack Reed in demand of an in-depth probe of “recent incidents” and moves to prevent “future cyber attacks”.

The Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, said on Monday that he supports the idea of a bipartisan investigation.

The “Russians are not our friends,” said the Kentucky Republican, whose wife, Elaine Chao, is Trump’s choice to serve as Transportation Secretary.

President Barack Obama’s administration announced last week that the intelligence agencies were in the process of putting together a report on the hacking to be submitted to Congress, EFE news added.

On Monday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that a separate congressional investigation “is certainly warranted when you consider the stakes and the consequences”.

Ten members of the Electoral College sent an open letter to National Intelligence Director James Clapper asking for a briefing on the probe of alleged Russian interference.

Meanwhile, a close associate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said of the CIA assertions that “they are absolutely making it up”.

Craig Murray, a former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, told Britain’s Guardian newspaper that WikiLeaks obtained the DNC e-mails via a leak, not a hack.

“I know who leaked them. I’ve met the person who leaked them, and they are certainly not Russian and it’s an insider. It’s a leak, not a hack. The two are different things,” Murray said.