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Trump dismisses claims of Russian election meddling, senators disagree

The future US president has said he doesn't believe an intelligence report claiming Moscow purposely tried to influence the US election. Senators from both sides of the aisle have called for an independent inquiry.

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Marc Fisher, Washington Post, on CIA Russia hacking report (12.12.2016)

US President-elect Donald Trump said in an interview on Sunday that he did not believe in the veracity of a CIA report on Russian hackers influencing the outcome of the US election. Trump's comments came before any investigation could be made into the CIA allegations.

Speaking in one of his few televised interviews since his November 8 victory, Trump said the claim Russians intervened to tip the vote in his favor was "ridiculous."

"I think it's just another excuse. I don't believe it," he told Fox News Sunday. Trump then slammed Washington's intelligence services en masse, saying there was "great confusion" among them.

He accused the spy agencies of not knowing where hackers were located nor being able to prove who was pulling the strings.

"Nobody really knows. And hacking is very interesting. Once they hack, if you don't catch them in the act, you're not going to catch them. They have no idea if it's Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed someplace. They have no idea," the president-elect said.

The CIA had said it had "high confidence" Russia interfered in the US election. US President Barack Obama called for a full review of hacking connected to the election.

Trump has chosen not to receive daily intelligence briefings, saying that because of the poor communication among agencies he would wait until he had installed new personnel to run them.

"We're going to have different people coming in because we have our people, they have their people. And I have great respect for them. But if you read the stories, the various stories, they're disputing. And certain groups don't necessarily agree." 

In July, Trump said he hoped Russian hackers would gain access to and reveal messages that had been deleted from Hillary Clinton's email server. The FBI twice said Clinton's behavior was careless but not criminal.

USA Reince Priebus neuer Stabchef im Weißen Haus (Reuters/M. Segar)

Trump's designated chief of staff, Reince Priebus, called it "insane" to suggest Moscow influenced the election

Senator: Trump team 'naive'

US intelligence had already accused Russians ahead of the election, blaming hackers for the release of a series of damaging emails from the Hillary Clinton campaign. The story came full circle on Friday, however, when the "Washington Post" reported that the CIA had concluded that Russian agents had purposely tried to swing the election for Trump.

As Trump dismissed the matter, there were bipartisan calls in US Congress to investigate the CIA allegations as soon as possible. Democratic Senator Ben Cardin and Republican Senator John McCain were among a number of lawmakers on Sunday who have said that an independent inquiry into the matter is necessary.

Cardin said the Trump transition team had to "stop being naive." The senator from Maryland went on the accuse the "corrupt regime" in Moscow of trying to undermine American democracy. Speaking to broadcaster CBS on Sunday, McCain said it was clear that Russian hackers had played a role. "The facts are there," the longtime lawmaker said.

es/sms (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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