WASHINGTON • US President-elect Donald Trump has said he did not believe American intelligence assessments that Russia had intervened to help him win the election.
"I think it's ridiculous. I think it's just another excuse," he said in an interview on Fox News yesterday. "I don't believe it."
United States intelligence had previously linked Russia to leaks of damaging e-mail from Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's campaign, but saw it as a broad bid to undermine confidence in the US political process.
On Friday, however, the Washington Post reported that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has concluded that the aim of the cyber intrusions was to help Mr Trump win the election.
Mr Trump said there was "great confusion" within the intelligence agencies, whom he portrayed as fighting among themselves.
"Nobody really knows. And hacking is very interesting. Once they hack, if you don't catch them in the act, you're not going to catch them.
I think it's ridiculous. I think it's just another excuse.
MR DONALD TRUMP, on why he doesn't believe intelligence assessments that Russia intervened to help him win.
DON'T NEED IT
You know, I'm, like, a smart person. I don't have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years.
MR TRUMP, on why he would not take the daily intelligence briefing.
"They have no idea if it's Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place," he said, in his first appearance on a Sunday talk show since the election last month.
Mr Trump also dismissed the reports as an attempt by Democrats to excuse their election loss.
"We had a massive landslide victory, as you know, in the Electoral College," he said.
However, Mr Trump's margin in the Electoral College - 306 to 232 - was smaller than that amassed by President Barack Obama in his 2008 and 2012 wins.
Earlier, Mr Trump's transition office responded to the reports with a blistering statement dismissing the intelligence agencies as "the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction". The office said it was time to "move on" from the election.
Four senators - two Republicans and two Democrats - yesterday issued a joint statement raising concern about the issue.
"For years, foreign adversaries have directed cyber attacks at America's physical, economic and military infrastructure, while stealing our intellectual property.
"Now our democratic institutions have been targeted. Recent reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American," said Democrat senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Jack Reed of Rhode Island, along with Republican senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
"We are committed to working in this bipartisan manner, and we will seek to unify our colleagues around the goal of investigating and stopping the grave threats that cyber attacks conducted by foreign governments pose to our national security," the senators' statement said.
In the Fox News Sunday interview, Mr Trump also indicated that as president, he would not take the daily intelligence briefing that President Obama and his predecessors have received.
Mr Trump, who has received the briefing sparingly as president-elect, said that it was often repetitive and that he would take it "when I need it".
He said his vice-president, Mr Mike Pence, would receive the daily briefing.
"You know, I'm, like, a smart person," he said. "I don't have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years."