Donald Trump says it’s “ridiculous” to believe Moscow helped him win the presidency and he rejects intelligence findings that Russia intervened in the U.S. election.
“I think it’s just another excuse,” Trump told Fox News Sunday in an interview broadcast Sunday. “I don’t believe it … Every week it’s another excuse.”
During the interview, Trump also appeared to reject the idea of setting up a blind trust to manage his assets during his presidency, saying that his “executives” and his children would run his companies in his absence.
The president-elect also said he does not need daily intelligence briefings because they are so repetitive, but the vice president-elect is receiving them.
Democrats and some Republicans have called for hearings and investigations into the CIA’s conclusion that Russia authorized hacking and other tactics in order to help Trump and hurt Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton during the campaign.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., issued a joint statement Sunday with incoming Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., calling for a bipartisan effort to explore the allegations and defend the nation against cyber attacks. The two were joined by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“For years, foreign adversaries have directed cyberattacks at America’s physical, economic, and military infrastructure, while stealing our intellectual property,” their statement said. “Now our democratic institutions have been targeted. Recent reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American.”
In his Fox interview, Trump said Democrats are pushing the idea of Russian involvement in an effort to explain their surprise election loss.
He also said there’s no way to know if Russia was behind the hacking of e-mail accounts belonging to Democratic and Clinton campaign officials.
“Once they hack if you don’t catch them in the act you’re not going to catch them,” Trump said. “They have no idea if it’s Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place.”
Russia is believed to be a topic of presidential intelligence briefings, though Trump does not receive them every day. He told Fox News Sunday that he receives the briefing “when I need it,” because it tends to the same information day-to-day.
“I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years,” Trump said, noting that Vice President-elect Mike Pence is receiving frequent briefings.
Trump told Fox that “very good people” do the briefings, and he has told them: “‘If something should change from this point, immediately call me. I’m available on one-minute’s notice.'”
In other parts of the interview, Trump said:
• Executives and his children will run his various companies. The New York City businessman said liquidating his assets and placing the proceeds in a blind trust would be impractical and time-consuming because so much his business involves real estate.
“You know, when you sell real estate that’s not like going out and selling a stock,” Trump said. “That takes a long time.”
Said Trump: “My executives will run it with my children. It’s a big company, it’s a great company. But I’m going to have nothing to do with management.”
Trump dismissed suggestions that foreign governments and others would try to buy influence by buying into Trump products, such as staying at his new hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.
His focus is on being president, Trump said, and he has rejected business deals in the wake of his political campaign.
“I turned down seven deals with one big player, great player, last week, because I thought it could be perceived as a conflict of interest,” Trump said.
SOURCE: David Jackson