The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security committee is warning U.S. intelligence not to undermine the incoming Trump administration in response to unsubstantiated allegations that Russia collected compromising information on President-elect Donald Trump.
“We have got to have an administration that has confidence in the intelligence community and also have an intelligence community that’s not undermining the efforts of an incoming administration,” Sen. Ron Johnson told reporters outside the confirmation hearing for Rex Tillerson, Mr. Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State.
When pressed whether he was accusing US intelligence of “undermining” Trump, he said, “What I’m saying is there are politics being played here, from my stand point, it certainly appears that way. There seems to be an effort somewhere to undermine the legitimacy of this election.”
At a long-awaited news conference, Trump speculated that US intelligence may have been behind the disclosure. “Who knows, but maybe the intelligence agencies which would be a tremendous blot on their record if they in fact did that,” he said. “A tremendous blot, because a thing like that should have never been written, it should never have been had and it should certainly never been released.”
He tweeted earlier in the morning:
In recent months, other notable Republican law makers have sided with Mr. Trump at the expense of the intelligence apparatus as he disputed the conclusion that Russia was behind the hacking of the DNC and the Clinton campaign.
Congressman Peter King (R-NY), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee made the extraordinary claim that CIA director William Brennan was behind a “hit job” against Trump in an interview with ABC’s This Week.
Mr. Trump did acknowledge on Wednesday, however, that the Russian government was probably behind the hacks. “I think it was Russia,” Trump said at a press conference, before saying that numerous nations hack American computers.