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Kremlin defers to Trump on the CIA assessment that Moscow helped him win

On Saturday, President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team challenged the veracity of U.S. intelligence assessments that Russia was trying to tip the November election to the Republican. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

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.

Secret CIA assessment says Russia was trying to help Trump win White House

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.”

Putin wants revenge and respect, and hacking the U.S. is his way of getting it

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.”

Trump continues his post-election ‘thank you’ tour

MOBILE, AL - DECEMBER 17: President-Elect Donald J. Trump waves as he is greeted by Azalea Trail Maids on his way to a "USA Thank You Tour 2016" event at the Ladd�Peebles Stadium in Mobile, AL on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

“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.”

Read more:

U.S. government officially accuses Russia of hacking campaign to interfere with elections

‘Yes We Did’: Russia’s establishment basks in Trump’s victory

This Russian editor got himself taken off a propaganda blacklist

Today’s coverage from Post correspondents around the world

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