Trump: Only ‘Stupid’ People Wouldn’t Want Good Relationship With Russia

Douliery Olivier/Sipa USA USA

Donald Trump said Saturday that the U.S. should work to improve its relationship with Russia, one day after U.S. intelligence officials released a report concluding that Russia interfered in the presidential election in order to help secure his victory.

“Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,” the President-elect wrote on Twitter. “Only ‘stupid’ [sic] people, or fools, would think that it is bad!”

Trump added that Russia would “respect” the U.S. more once he took office, and ideally both countries could “work together” to address global affairs.

The President-elect was briefed Friday on an intelligence report that found that Russian President Vladimir Putin “ordered” an influence campaign in the 2016 race to help Trump win. A declassified version was released to the public.

Though Trump said in a statement he had “tremendous respect” for the work of intelligence officials, he has rejected their conclusions, saying cyberhacking efforts had “absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election. He repeated this assertion in another Saturday tweet.

The President-elect called for improved relations with Russia throughout the campaign, and claimed focus on the Kremlin’s interference in the election was a “political witch hunt” against him spearheaded by the Democratic National Committee. He said DNC officials were “very embarrassed” by their election loss, and blamed them for allowing their systems to be hacked.

Congressional leaders from both parties have spoken out against Russia’s interference in the election, and held a hearing with senior intelligence officials this week to discuss the threat of Russian cyber attacks.