Blame game bubbles over Russian interference in election

Blame game bubbles over Russian interference in election
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Some Democrats have sought to put blame on the FBI, citing its failure to properly respond to the email hacks during the presidential race.
   
Democratic National Committee (DNC) interim chairwoman Donna Brazile is disputing President Obama's claims that Russian cyber hacking stopped after he told Russian President Vladimir Putin to "cut it out."
 
And Attorney General Loretta Lynch denied claims that the FBI didn't take the hacks of Democratic staffers seriously.
 
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Members of Trump's campaign, on the other hand, are casting doubt on reports from the intelligence community regarding Russian interference in the presidential race. Instead, they are blasting Democrats for continuing to raise the issue in what they say is an attempt to undermine Trump's victory.
 
Brazile added a layer of intraparty fighting to the debate Sunday, when she disputed the White House claim that Russians stopped hacking after Obama threatened retaliation.
 
"They came after us absolutely every day until the end of the election. They tried to hack into our system repeatedly," she said on ABC's "This Week."
 
She said she was "disappointed" the Democratic Party was under constant attack.
 
“We never felt comfortable. We didn’t know what was coming next. And, you know, this is not just about computers; this is harassment of individuals, it’s harassment of our candidates, harassment of our donors,” she added. 
 
“We had stolen information, personal information. People were personally harassed.”
 
A secret CIA assessment reported earlier this month concluded Russia intervened in the presidential election to help Trump win the presidency.
 
The Washington Post reported last week that the FBI supports the CIA assessment. Both FBI Director James Comey and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stand by the CIA assessment, the report said.
 
President Obama last week said he told Putin at a conference in September that there would be consequences if the attacks didn't stop.
 
Attorney General Loretta Lynch continued to defend the FBI Sunday against criticism from Clinton's campaign that the agency didn't take the investigation into the hacked emails seriously.

"The investigation into the hacks of the DNC and DCCC is an ongoing investigation. It's an active investigation. So I am not able to comment on the specifics on how people were contacted," Lynch said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"But I can say that the FBI has worked closely with those organizations both to discuss what we learned about the hacks and to gather information about them so that we can continue this investigation."
 
She said the FBI's investigation was taken seriously "from the beginning."
 
Her defense come after Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta blasted the FBI in an op-ed last week. In the piece, he wrote he was surprised to read in The New York Times that the FBI didn't properly warn DNC officials about Russian hacks in 2015.
 
Lynch said she couldn't comment on Podesta's remarks, but noted he isn't involved in the ongoing investigation.
 
"So he wouldn't be privy to everything that would have been done or said to that," she said. "But as I said, he's entitled to his opinion."
 
Podesta on Sunday escalated tensions, saying the FBI didn't tell him about Russia hacking into his email account until two days after WikiLeaks started publishing the stolen messages.
 
He also suggested the email hacks could have been an attempt to distract people from the release of the 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape, in which Trump was heard making lewd comments about women.
 
"On Oct. 7, the Access Hollywood tape comes out. One hour later, Wikileaks started dropping my emails into the public. One could say those things might not have been a coincidence," he said.
 
"Two days later, the FBI contacted me, and the first thing the agent said to me was, 'I don't know if you're aware but your email account may have been hacked.'"
 
Podesta also refused to say Sunday if the election was "free and fair." The Russians "clearly intervened" in the race, he said, and cited the recent report suggesting there is a consensus among members of the intelligence community that Russia intervened to help Trump.
 
"I think it was distorted by the Russian intervention," Podesta said on NBC's "Meet The Press," when pressed on whether it was a free and fair election. "Let's put it that way." 
 
Still, members of Trump's campaign are refusing to accept the reports from the intelligence community.
 
Incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus on Sunday said the intelligence community hasn't been clear and cast blame on Democrats for continuing to raise these issues in an attempt to delegitimize the election results.

"If there is this conclusive opinion among all of these intelligence agencies, then they should issue a report or they should stand in front of a camera and make the case," Priebus said on "Fox News Sunday."

He said he thinks the president-elect would accept the conclusions if the intelligence community put out a report and showed the American people they were on the same page.
 
"I think that these guys should be straight with the American people and come out and say it," Priebus said.
 
"I don't think they've been clear about it." 
 
Trump aide Kellyanne Conway said that fact that members of the Electoral College are trying to use reports of Russian interference to change the election results "undermines our democracy."
 
And although she said the president-elect respects the right of President Obama to make decisions while he is still holding office, Conway said Obama's decision to retaliate against the Russians for the hacking appears political.
 
Obama during an interview with NPR that aired last week said the U.S. would retaliate against Russia over its suspected interference.
 
"It does seem to be a political response at this point because it seems like the president is under pressure from Team Hillary, who can't accept the election results," Conway said. 

"It's very clear that President Obama could have 'retaliated' months ago if they were actually concerned about this and concerned about this affecting the election."