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GOP chair Priebus: Trump believes Russia involved in DNC hacking

Republican chairperson and incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said US President-elect Donald Trump believes Russia hacked into the Democratic Party. It is the first such acknowledgement from Trump's team.

Republican National Committee (RNC) chairperson and incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told host Chris Wallace in an interview on "Fox News Sunday"  that US President-elect Donald Trump believes Russia was involved in hacking into the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

"(Trump) accepts the fact that this particular case was entities in Russia," said Priebus. This is the first time Trump, or a member of his transition team, expressed agreement with the intelligence reports. Priebus added that the DNC was still to blame for allowing its emails to be hacked.

Trump has previously denied Russia was involved with hacking the DNC, and denied that it was trying to help him win the presidential election in November. Trump has called the investigation into potential Russian hacking a "political witch hunt."

Intelligence points to Russia

US intelligence reported last week that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed efforts, including cyber attacks, aimed at eroding support for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. The report was commissioned by current US President Barack Obama. It also reported that overall vote totals were not influenced by Russia.

An unclassified version of the report said Putin was directly tied to election influence and Russia had a "clear preference" for Trump over Clinton.

While Clinton won the majority the popular vote, Trump won more electoral votes, which are divided by the population of each state in the US, to secure the presidency. Trump won 306 electoral votes, thus surpassing the required 270 votes on his way to becoming the 45th US president on January 20.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Trump said he "learned a lot" from Friday's discussion with intelligence officials on the intelligence reports into Russian interference in the US presidential election. 

kbd/kl (AP, Reuters)

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