A spokesman for President-elect Donald Trump dismissed congressional Republicans’ support for a bipartisan investigation of Russian hacking during the election campaign, suggesting that talk of Russian interference was coming from people “bitter that their candidate lost” trying to undermine Trump’s transition.
“What this is is an attempt to try to de-legitimize President-elect Trump’s win,” Jason Miller said on a conference call Monday with reporters. “First, after the election, it was the recount nonsense, then it was discussion of a popular vote, now it’s anonymous, off-the-record sources with conflicting information trying to raise other issues.”
Trump’s transition work “might upset some people who are bitter that their candidate lost in November, but that’s not going to slow us down from focusing on going to work for the American people,” he said.
Miller’s comments seemed to suggest the “bitter” talk was coming from the CIA, which has concluded privately that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and individuals close to Hillary Clinton in order to release documents that would push the electorate toward Trump. Miller did not mention the CIA directly.
Miller spoke after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence would investigate Russian interference in the election. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), along with several Democrats, called for a bipartisan probe on Sunday.
McConnell also voiced strong support for the intelligence community, setting himself at odds with Trump.
“I have the highest confidence in the intelligence community and especially the Central Intelligence Agency,” McConnell said. “The CIA is filled with selfless patriots, many of whom anonymously risk their lives for the American people.”
“The Russians are not our friends,” McConnell said.
Trump said over the weekend he did not believe the CIA’s conclusion that Russia used hacking to help him win.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” he told “Fox News Sunday.” “I think it’s just another excuse. I don’t believe it . . . They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place. I mean, they have no idea.”
On Monday, a reporter asked Miller if Trump would support the probe and whether he had spoken about it with McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) or other congressional Republicans.
Miller said he was “unaware of the last time that the president-elect and Leader McConnell spoke” and did not mention Ryan or other GOP lawmakers.