By Ellen Lempres
By Ellen Lempres
California -Following the release of an intelligence report directly linking Russia to the cyber attacks on the Democratic National Committee to influence the United States’ presidential election, president-elect Donald Trump has called for only closer relations between the nations, even after partially recognizing the veracity of the intelligence report.
Previously, Trump had rejected the idea that Russia was behind the hacks, claiming in the first presidential debate, “I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the D.N.C. She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don’t — maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, O.K.?” Trump then later cited Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, on Twitter, explaining, “a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta.”
Trump continued to hold this position and reaffirm his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin even after evidence was brought forth connecting Russiato this hacking. In response to President Obama’s sanctions on Russia and his expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, Trump continued to support Russia. After Putin dismissed Obama’s actions and did not retaliate against these sanctions, Trump took to Twitter to applaud Putin, tweeting, “Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!”
Trump has continued to embrace this relationship with Russia, tweeting Saturday, “Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. Only ‘stupid’ people, or fools, would think that it is bad! We have enough problems around the world without yet another one. When I am president, Russia will respect us far more than they do now and both countries will, perhaps, work together to solve some of the many great and pressing problems and issues of the WORLD.”
Now, after pressure from other Republicans to acknowledge the intelligence report findings on Russia, Trump is seemingly softening his stance on Russia’s connections to the hacking. On Fox News Sunday, Trump’s incoming chief of staff ReincePreibus explained that Trump “accepts the fact that this particular case was entities in Russia,” but he did not reference whether Trump believes that Putin directed these hacks.