Donald Trump finally concedes that Russia was behind hacks, but minimizes its culpability

Donald Trump finally concedes that Russia was behind hacks, but minimizes its culpability
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

President-elect Donald Trump for the first time publicly admitted on Wednesday that he believes the cyberattacks against the Democratic National Committee and other Democratic entities during the presidential election were carried out by the Russians.

"As far as hacking, I think it was Russia," Trump said at his news conference on Wednesday — a conclusion U.S. intelligence officials came to months ago, which Trump publicly cast doubt on multiple times.

Trump also gave a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying he "shouldn't be" hacking U.S. entities, but said Putin won't continue to wage cyberattacks against the U.S. because Russia will respect Trump more.

"Russia will have much greater respect for our country when I'm leading it than when other people have led it," Trump said.

While Trump's admission will likely be seen as a step in the right direction by the intelligence community — which has expressed shock and dismay that Trump would dismiss its fact-based findings — he sought to minimize Russia's role.

"I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people," Trump said. 

He also was quick to point out it wasn't just Russia who has been said to engage in cyberattacks on the U.S., bringing up China's alleged hack of the Office of Personnel Management, in which China reportedly stole personal information from millions of government employees.

"When we lost 22 million names and everything else that was hacked recently, they didn't make a big deal out of that," Trump said of China. "That was something that was extraordinary."