Trump Touts ‘Constructive’ Meeting With Intel Officials

President-elect to appoint team to tackle cyber attacks

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President-elect Donald Trump touted a "constructive" meeting with intelligence community leaders on Friday, after receiving a briefing on the results of a comprehensive investigation into the alleged Russian hacking related to the U.S. presidential election.

Trump has been criticized for treating the conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia was behind the election cyber attacks with skepticism. Trump offered up few details on the briefing he received Friday, but claimed that the cyber attacks, which he did not directly attribute to Moscow, had "absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election."

"I had a constructive meeting and conversation with the leaders of the intelligence community this afternoon," Trump said in a statement released by the transition team Friday. "I have tremendous respect for the work and service done by the men and women of this community to our great nation."

"While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups, and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses, and organizations, including the Democrat National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines," Trump said. "There were attempts to hack the Republican National Committee, but the RNC had strong hacking defenses and the hackers were unsuccessful."

On Thursday, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper confirmed that Russia engaged in a "multifaceted campaign" against the U.S. election in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee. He also said that the investigation found multiple motivations for Russia's election hacks.

Russia has denied the allegations.

Reports surfaced Thursday evening that intelligence officials intercepted communications from high-level Russian officials celebrating Trump's win over Hillary Clinton, leading them to conclude that Moscow meddled in the election in part to help Trump prevail.

President Obama was briefed on the findings of the investigation into the alleged Russian hacks on Thursday, and the intelligence community is preparing to release a declassified version of the report to the public next week.

On Friday, Trump announced plans to appoint a team to develop a strategy to combat cyber attacks from Russia, China, and other groups within 90 days of taking office.

"Whether it is our government, organizations, associations, or businesses, we need to aggressively combat and stop cyber attacks," Trump said. "I will appoint a team to give me a plan within 90 days of taking office. The methods, tools, and tactics we use to keep America safe should not be a public discussion that will benefit those who seek to do us harm."

Morgan Chalfant   Email Morgan | Full Bio | RSS
Morgan Chalfant is a staff writer at the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, Morgan worked as a staff writer at Red Alert Politics. She also served as the year-long Collegiate Network fellow on the editorial page at USA TODAY from 2013-14. Morgan graduated from Boston College in 2013 with a B.A. in English and Mathematics. Her Twitter handle is @mchalfant16.

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