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Back in October, American security agencies formally blamed Russia for a series of high-profile cyber attacks on US government organizations. Now, the same officials say the country intervened in the recent election to help Trump win and to undermine the electoral process.
President Obama on Friday ordered an investigation into Russian cyber attacks and foreign influence during the 2016 US vote. The report is due before he leaves office on January 20, but The Washington Post and New York Times both claim that the CIA has already concluded with “high confidence” that Russia was promoting Trump and harming Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the late stages of the election.
The conclusion is based on the CIA’s findings that Russia hacked both the Republican National Committee and several Democratic organizations, but passed only the Democrats’ documents to WikiLeaks.
Republicans claim the reason behind this apparent favoritism is because their networks were never compromised – only the accounts of individual Republicans were attacked. Trump’s transition office has been equally critical of the findings.
"These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction," the transition team said in a statement. "The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It's now time to move on and 'Make America Great Again.’”
During a Fox News appearance on Sunday, Trump himself also refuted the claims.
I think it’s ridiculous. I just think it’s another excuse. I don’t believe it. I don’t know why…. Every week it’s another excuse. We had a massive landslide victory as you know in the electoral college. I guess the final numbers are now at 306 and she’s down to a very low number. No I don’t believe that at all. If you look at the story and you look at what they said, there’s great confusion. Nobody really knows. And hacking is very interesting. Once they hack, if you don’t catch them in the act, you’re not gonna catch them. They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed someplace.
Back in November, American officials warned Russia that it would face a US attack on its key systems if it interfered directly with the vote itself. Agencies said they did expect some “cyber mischief” from agents acting on behalf of the Russian government.