Donald Trump emerges from intelligence briefing to say hacking didn't taint election

Source: AP
Source: AP

Following a Friday briefing by top intelligence officials, President-elect Donald Trump defended the integrity of the election that handed him the presidency, saying cyberattacks did not affect the outcome of November's vote. 

He did, however, pledge to take swift action to guard against hacking in the future.

"While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democrat National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines," Trump said in a statement following the Manhattan sit-down. 

"There were attempts to hack the Republican National Committee, but the RNC had strong hacking defenses and the hackers were unsuccessful," Trump continued.

Trump says hacking had no impact on his November victory.
Source: 
Don Emmert/Getty Images

Late last month, President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia in response to cyberattacks on the DNC for which U.S. intelligence officials said the country was responsible. 

He also expelled Russian operatives from the United States for acting, per the White House, "in a manner inconsistent with their diplomatic status." 

Trump, who has raised eyebrows with a pattern of making flattering statements about Russian president Vladimir Putin, has repeatedly taken issue with intelligence authorities for blaming Russia. 

He has also tweeted conflicting remarks about Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, who has denied he was a conduit of information hacked by the Russians that proved damaging to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in the presidential contest.

To that end, Trump took pains in his Friday statement to heap praise on the members of the U.S. intelligence services, citing his "tremendous respect for the work and service done by the men and women of this community to our great nation."

The president-elect, who takes the oath of office Jan. 20, described the day's briefing as "constructive" and pledged to "aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks."

Trump insists cyberattacks had no effect on the November election.
Source: 
Paul Sancya/AP

Specifically, Trump said: 

"I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office. The methods, tools and tactics we use to keep America safe should not be a public discussion that will benefit those who seek to do us harm. Two weeks from today I will take the oath of office and America's safety and security will be my number one priority."

Additionally, Trump tweeted his displeasure that NBC News had obtained intelligence information prior to the Friday briefing and said he planned to have Congress look into the matter.

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Celeste Katz

Celeste Katz is senior political correspondent at Mic, covering national politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at celeste@mic.com.

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