Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksOn The Trail: Arizona is microcosm of battle for the GOP Arizona New Members 2019 Cook shifts 8 House races toward Dems MORE (R-Ariz.) on Thursday appeared to praise the publication of Democratic emails, believed to be stolen by Russian operatives, on WikiLeaks.
"If anything, whatever they might have done was to try to use information in a way that may have affected something that they believed was in their best interests," Trent said on MSNBC.
“If Russia succeeded in giving the American people information that was accurate, then they merely did what the media should have done,” he added.
The intelligence community has described the hacks and subsequent release of stolen emails as an attempt by the Russian government to “interfere” in the U.S. election.
Recent leaks from U.S. officials have indicated that the the IC believes the release of the emails was an explicit attempt to help GOP presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel faces double-edged sword with Alex Jones, Roger Stone Trump goes after Woodward, Costa over China Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves MORE.
Franks characterized the intelligence leaks as an attempt by President Obama to “delegitimize” the election, echoing the sentiment of Trump.
The president-elect has continued to deny that Russia was involved in the attacks on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future Popping the progressive bubble MORE campaign chair John Podesta.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has denied that the Russian government gave the group the Democratic files.
Franks on Thursday did not deny Russian involvement, but downplayed the notion that it influenced the election.
“I’m all for doing what’s necessary to protect the election,” Franks said. “But there’s no suggestion that Russia hacked into our voting systems."
"They, if anything, whatever they might have done was to try to use information in a way that might have affected something that they believed was in their best interests.”