Santorum: Russia didn’t hack DNC

Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) says he rejects intelligence reports that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2016.

“I take issue — I’ve done this publicly and I’ll continue to do this publicly — that, quote, ‘Russia was responsible for hacks,’ ” he said on CNN’s “New Day” Thursday.

“If there’s a trail of breadcrumbs that says, ‘This is the Russians,’ it is probably not the Russians. Because the Russians are so good.”

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Santorum disputed whether the DNC was even hacked, suggesting its defenses were breached after a successful phishing attempt on Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHarris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests MORE's campaign chairman John Podesta.

“First off, it wasn’t a hack,” he said. "It was a phishing expedition that landed Podesta.”

Santorum added that intelligence reports concluding Russia hacked major Democratic Party sources last year may have political motivations.

“Unfortunately, I think this is what [President-elect Donald] Trump was worried about. This is the politicization of intelligence,” he said.

"The DNC didn’t turn over their evidence over to the government," Santorum added. "The DNC had a private contractor look at this information and say, ‘This is what they’ve concluded.' We’ve based our intelligence estimates on that. To me, that’s wrong.”

WikiLeaks began publicly releasing the DNC’s emails in summer, and similarly dumped Podesta’s in October.

The U.S. intelligence community released a declassified report earlier this month on its conclusions that Moscow conducted a hacking and influence campaign to help Trump win.

Trump has fiercely disputed such assessments, portraying them as attempts at delegitimizing his presidency.

The Senate Intelligence Committee announced last week that it is launching a bipartisan inquiry into Russian intelligence activities relating to the 2016 presidential race.