Trump believes Russia 'probably' behind election hacking

Trump believes Russia 'probably' behind election hacking
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President Trump believes Russia “probably” was behind election-related hacking last year but thinks other nations were possibly involved as well, his top spokesman said Monday. 
 
“The statement he made in January is consistent with what he said the other day, which is that he believes that Russia probably was involved, potentially some other countries as well could have been equally involved,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at an off-camera briefing. 
 
Spicer pointed to Trump’s Jan. 11 comments, in which he acknowledged for the first time that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. 
 
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"As far as hacking, I think it was Russia. But I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people," he said at the time.
 
The White House has offered no evidence to support the claim other nations may have been involved in the hacking related to the campaign. 
 
Trump and his representatives for months have refused to give a clear-cut answer about whether he agrees with the unanimous finding of the intelligence community that Moscow conducted a wide-ranging effort to disrupt the election. 
 
The issue came to a head again last week after The Washington Post published a revealing report about the Obama administration’s struggle to respond to Russia. 
 
One former senior Obama administration official said the ex-president’s team “choked” by waiting too long and doing too little to punish the Russian government for hacking U.S. political groups and spreading fake news. 
 
Trump pounced on the report in a series of recent tweets. 
 
“The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected [Hillary] Clinton would win and did not want to ‘rock the boat,’” he tweeted Monday morning. “He didn't ‘choke,’ he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good.”
 
That opened Trump up to accusations of hypocrisy. Trump associates are facing a special counsel probe into whether they colluded with the Russian meddling effort, and the president is also facing scrutiny over whether he interfered with the probe. 
 
The Post report indicated it’s not clear whether Trump has followed through on additional cyber-based responses teed up by Obama to punish Moscow. 
 
But Spicer said it was Obama’s team who was guilty of “hypocrisy” for their criticism of Trump’s handling of Russia.
 
“There does seem to be a bit of hypocrisy, in terms of what they didn’t clearly do if they truly believed all this was happening,” he said. 
 
"The question is, if they didn't take any action does that make them complicit? I think there’s a lot of question that have to get answered about who knew what and when.”
 
The spokesman said he hasn't spoken to Trump about what action he hoped Obama would have taken. 
 
When a reporter pointed out that Trump himself had encouraged the Russians to hack the private email server former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' 10 things we learned from Peter Strzok's congressional testimony Get ready for summit with no agenda and calculated risks MORE, Trump's Democratic opponent in the presidential race, used while in the Obama administration, Spicer said that the remark was a joke. 
 
“He was joking at the time," he said.