MOSCOW — This time, the Kremlin didn’t even bother to deny the allegations that it helped Donald Trump win.
It let the president-elect’s team do the talking.
“Some in the United States are still trying to challenge the election,” a Russian state television host said Saturday, introducing a report by The Washington Post that the CIA concluded Russia intervened in the 2016 election on the Republican’s behalf. “But Donald Trump’s team has sarcastically dismissed the latest effort.”
The program cut to an enlarged translation of the Trump team’s statement, which a reporter read aloud in Russian.
On Saturday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on The Post’s article.
Moscow has regularly denied interfering in the elections, especially after U.S. intelligence agencies in October said the Russian government helped provide WikiLeaks with hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign staff.
President Vladimir Putin dismissed the allegations as “hysteria” intended “only to distract the attention of the American people from the substance of what hackers had put out.”
His aides have questioned the lack of evidence, called the probe politicized and pointed to similar attacks against the Kremlin.
“Every day, Putin’s site gets attacked by tens of thousands of hackers,” Peskov said in October. “Many of these attacks can be traced to U.S. territory. It’s not as though we accuse the White House or Langley of doing it each time it happens.”
But there were some in the Kremlin’s camp who suggested there might be some truth to the allegations. In November, reacting to Trump’s win during a Nov. 9 reception at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, pro-Kremlin political analyst Sergei Markov said he believed “that Russia helped with WikiLeaks.”
“I don’t know how, specifically, but I think they probably helped [WikiLeaks founder Julian] Assange,” Markov said in an interview, adding that he did not know how Russia might have helped.
“Everybody in the world is helping Assange,” Markov said in English. “Everybody understands that in this conflict between CIA and Assange, Assange is right, CIA is wrong. So, Vladimir Putin is part of community of all the honest people in the world.”
Some Russian analysts believe that supporters of Hillary Clinton are trying to mount a campaign to dissuade the electoral college from confirming Trump’s victory next week.
“Incredible pressure is being put on the electors. There is a true special operation to turn them,” Vladimir Vasiliev, of the Institute of the USA and Canada, said earlier this month. “The Democrats are doing everything possible to force them not to vote for Trump.”