National Security

Trump says he will meet with intelligence leaders about Russia


President-elect Donald Trump will meet with the intelligence community next week to discuss Russian interference in the presidential election, he said in a vaguely worded statement issued Thursday evening that did not mention the sanctions announced by President Obama earlier that day.

“It’s time for our country to move on to bigger and better things,” Trump wrote in the brief statement. “Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation.”

The statement did not define “this situation,” but the transition team earlier in the day promised a response to the announced sanctions against Russia would be forthcoming.

{mosads}Trump has repeatedly denied any Russian involvement in the hacks of the Democratic Party that intelligence officials have said were an attempt to “interfere” in the U.S. election.

He has characterized any reports to that effect as an attempt by Democrats to delegitimize his election.

But among lawmakers, the intelligence community and most security experts, there’s little question that Russian intelligence was behind the hacks on the Democratic National Committee and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Obama on Thursday announced a slate of retaliatory measures against Russia, including economic sanctions targeted at the intelligence agencies and officials behind the hacks.

Simultaneously, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security released a joint report detailing some of the forensic fingerprints that led them to attribute the attack to Russia.

Trump’s refusal to accept the intelligence community’s conclusions has put him at odds with congressional leaders in his own party, who largely praised the sanctions on Thursday.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called Obama’s action “overdue” and “appropriate,” though he slammed Obama as having an “ineffective foreign policy.”

Ryan added: “Russia does not share America’s interests. In fact, it has consistently sought to undermine them, sowing dangerous instability around the world.”

Trump has also faced scrutiny for declining some of the daily intelligence briefings normally given to incoming presidents.

“I’m, like, a smart person,” the president-elect said during a recent interview. “I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years.”

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Paul Ryan
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