Trump Labels Focus On Russian Election Interference A ‘Political Witch Hunt’

AP

President-elect Donald Trump views the focus on Russian interference in the 2016 election a “political witch hunt” against him.

In an interview with the New York Times on Friday ahead of Trump’s planned meeting with the heads of U.S. intelligence to discuss the community’s findings that Russian actors stole emails from Democratic organizations to influence the election, the President-elect said the intense focus on Russian involvement is meant to damage him politically.

“China, relatively recently, hacked 20 million government names,” he told the Times. “How come nobody even talks about that? This is a political witch hunt.”

The Chinese government hacked tens of millions of files from the Office of Personnel Management in late 2014 and early 2015. The cyber intrusion came up frequently in the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Thursday hearing on cyber threats.

Trump said the attention paid to Russian interference masked Democrats’ embarrassment at losing the presidential election.

“They are very embarrassed about it,” he said. “To some extent, it’s a witch hunt. They just focus on this.”

Trump also criticized the Democratic National Committee for reportedly not letting the FBI examine the organization’s email servers—a claim the party denies, the Times noted—as well as Clinton, for allegedly accepting a debate question ahead of time from Donna Brazile, who went on to become interim head of the DNC.

“How come nobody complains about that?” he asked.

Noting successful hacks of the White House and Congress in the past, Trump told the Times: “With all that being said, I don’t want countries to be hacking our country.”

“They’ve hacked the White House. They’ve hacked Congress. We’re like the hacking capital of the world,” he declared.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

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