The top Republican in the U.S. Senate staked out a tough response to any Russian interference in the 2016 elections, standing by an Intelligence Community assessment that accused Russia of directing email hacks of Democratic Party officials, and bluntly saying that the “Russians are not our friends.”
“Let me just speak for myself – the Russians are not our friends,” McConnell said in a morning news conference at the U.S. Capitol. “The Russians do not wish us well.”
“I have the highest confidence in the intelligence community,” the Senate Majority Leader added.
McConnell said he fully expected Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) – the chairs of the Intelligence and Armed Services committees – to undertake a complete and bipartisan review of Russia situation.
“Sen. McCain and I think Sen. Burr will be looking at this issue, and doing it on a bipartisan basis,” as he said the Congress is “more than capable” of reviewing any Russian involvement.
“Any foreign breach of our cyber security measures is disturbing,” McConnell told reporters.
The Senate Majority Leader specifically referenced a statement from the Director of National Intelligence that was issued back in October, which pointed the finger directly at Russia over hacked emails from Democratic Party officials.
McConnell’s statement put him at odds with President-Elect Trump, who said on Sunday that it was “ridiculous” to say the Russians did anything that might have tipped the scales on the 2016 elections.
Trump’s transition team has also jabbed at the CIA, arguing its analysts were wrong about Saddam Hussein’s weapons program in Iraq – basically making the case that they could be wrong about the Russians as well.
This morning, Trump went at the Intelligence Community again: