Sean Spicer said Donald Trump does not support foreign involvement in the election
Michael Smerconish pushed back on the certainty that Spicer articulated
Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer said Saturday reports that the RNC was hacked by the Russians are not true and cast doubt on the Intelligence community assessments of Russia’s attempts to influence US elections.
“If (US Intelligence communities are) so certain it happened, why won’t they go on the record and say it,” Spicer told CNN’s Michael Smerconish in a heated conversation. “I don’t understand it. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Spicer’s comments came the morning after President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team issued a stunning rebuke of Intelligence communities who have said, in recent reports from CNN and the Washington Post, that Russian hackers not only wanted to disrupt US elections but actively worked toward getting the Republican presidential nominee elected.
Spicer attacked the New York Times for reporting that the Russian government was involved in hacking the 2016 presidential election, according to Intelligence experts. The paper also reported that the RNC was hacked.
“I know that we have worked with Intelligence agencies right now that are saying that we have not been hacked,” he told CNN’s Michael Smerconish in a heated conversation. “Our own systems show that we have not been hacked.”
Spicer also dismissed the paper’s broader conclusions about the role of the Russian government in the election.
Smerconish pushed back on the certainty that Spicer articulated.
“I’m casting doubt on whether Sean Spicer can definitively know the answer to the question of the extent of the Russian hack and my frustration is at the idea that until this thing is fully developed already President-elect Trump is saying, ‘Move on folks there’s nothing to see here,’” he said.
Smerconish went on to express his frustration that Trump quickly dismissed Intelligence reports about Russian involvement in the election before seeing the results of an investigation on the matter.
“I’m also troubled by the idea that my President-elect is already throwing under the bus the Intelligence community with whom he’s going to have to work on life and death matters,” he said.
Trump has repeatedly questioned the knowledge of the Intelligence community and has attracted significant criticism for not regularly attending the President’s Daily Briefings, where national security information is often disseminated.
Trump is getting the briefings on average only once a week, according to a US official with knowledge of situation. Obama and other key national security policymakers currently receive the brief six days a week, according to the CIA website.
“Why aren’t we as Americans upset about the fact that a foreign hostile actor apparently put his thumb on the scale in our election and why doesn’t Donald Trump want to get to the bottom of that as he takes office,” Smerconish asked.
Spicer said he and Trump are in fact upset.
“I’m outraged,” he said. “I don’t think, Donald Trump doesn’t think, no one thinks that a foreign entity should be interfering with a foreign election.”
But Spicer questions that there is proof of hacking despite reports from the Intelligence community.
“What proof does anyone have that they affected the outcome because I’ve heard zero,” he said. “Show me what facts have actually shown that anything undermined that election.”