The Trump transition team is disputing the truthfulness of reported CIA findings released Friday by the Obama administration that claim Russia attempted to influence the presidential election for the Republican nominee.
There are “people within these agencies who are upset with the outcome of the election,” spokesman Sean Spicer said Saturday, questioning both the quality of the intelligence information and the motivation behind it, reported Associated Press.
Those behind the claim are “the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” Trump’s team said in a statement released Friday night.
A senior administration official who requested anonymity told Associated Press the CIA had “high confidence” Moscow intended to help the Trump campaign by leaking embarrassing emails hacked from the accounts of Democratic Party officials and top Hillary Clinton aide John Podesta. The emails, posted to the Internet by Wikileaks, revealed the Democratic National Committee’s efforts to assure a Clinton win over Bernie Sanders in the primary and collusion between the Clinton campaign and the establishment media in the general election. The anonymous source claimed Republican National Committee emails had been breached by the Russians and they had not released them.
Spicer denied RNC computer systems had been hacked during the election, noting that party officials had worked closely with intelligence agencies to maintain security and had been told “with certainty” their computers had not been hacked.
News of the CIA assessment on alleged Russian interference has energized Democrat activists who have been attempting to overturn the election with recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, as well as running a campaign to pressure Republican Electoral College electors to withhold their vote for Trump or cast it for Hillary. Activists are also contacting state attorneys general requesting electors be enjoined from voting until all formal investigations into Russian hacking are concluded.
The Electoral College is scheduled to vote December 19.
A 1995 case out of Pennsylvania is being cited by the Huffington Post as possible grounds for replacing Trump with Clinton, even after he has been sworn in.
In that matter, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a lower court case, letting stand the ruling of a federal district judge that invalidated a Pennsylvania state senate election after massive fraud was later discovered, ordering the winner removed from office and his opponent to take his seat.
Two elected officials who testified in the case said they had been aware of the fraud and had not intervened, but instead quickly certified the winner to make allegations of fraud moot. The Huffington Post analogizes similar circumstances by citing a Washington Post claim that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was aware of CIA claims of Russian interference and chose to do nothing about it.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said he will push for a congressional investigation next year into foreign meddling in U.S. elections. Both Sens. John McCain, R-Arizona, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, have expressed support. President Obama has likewise ordered an investigation to be completed before he leaves office.
“This is not an effort to challenge the outcome of the election,” said White House spokesman Eric Schultz.
The Kremlin has denied claims of meddling in the election.