Donald Trump said today that he believes Russia ordered hacks on Democrats that coincided with the presidential election.
‘I think it was Russia, but I think we also get hacked by other people,’ he said. ‘It’s not just Russia,’ he argued at another point in his news Wednesday news conference.
China hacked 22 million accounts, he said, talking about the 2015 data breach at the Office of Personnel and Management.
Trump condemned the illegal acts but said emails involving Hillary Clinton’s campaign that were published by Wikileaks revealed pertinent information.
He showed little remorse for the theft of data from the Democratic National Committee, which he said was ‘totally open to being hacked’ because ‘they did a very poor job.’
The president-elect subsequently said, in response to a question about Vladimir Putin engineering the hack and leak strategy to help him, he believes the Russian leader’s support for him is an ‘asset.’
‘But remember this, we talk about hacking, the hacking’s bad, and it shouldn’t be done…but look at what was learned from that hacking,’ he proclaimed.
Trump said Clinton received debate questions beforehand and ‘didn’t report it – that’s a horrible thing.’
Government hacking occurred ‘because we have no defense,’ he said during the Q and A session as he made reference to the OPM breach and the theft of civil servants’ sensitive, personal information.
‘That’s because we’re run by people who don’t know what they’re doing.’
When he’s president, Trump said cyber attacks on the U.S. and its citizens will end.
Every country, he said, Russia, China, Japan, Mexico ‘will respect us, far more, far more than they do under past administration,’ he said, painting with a broad brush.
Trump also said he views warmer relations with Russia positively because the nation can help in the fight against ISIS.
‘If Putin likes Donald Trump, I consider that an asset not a liability,’ he said, speaking in the third person. ‘Because we have a horrible relationship with Russia.’
Trump said he hopes to get along with Putin, ‘but there’s a good chance I won’t.
‘And if I don’t, do you honestly believe that Hillary would be tougher on Putin than me? Does anybody in this room really believe that? Give me a break,’ he told reporters.
Clinton has said she believes Putin personally had a hand in the cyber attacks and that he did it because he has a ‘beef’ with her.
While Putin was out of power, Clinton, then the former of secretary of state, presented the Russian foreign minister with a red ‘reset’ button as a symbolic gesture at the beginning of the Obama administration.
Trump mocked the move today, saying at his news conference, ‘There’s no reset button. We’re either going to get along or we’re not.
‘I hope we get along, but if we don’t, that’s possible, too.’
Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, said earlier in the morning that he’d reviewed the unclassified report on the hacking and found it ‘troubling.’
He said he had not seen the classified report, as he does not yet have security clearance. The one presented to the public indicated that Putin did the hacking to help Trump, he acknowledged.
Trump admitted that Putin’s government ordered the hacks on the opposing political party and Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, today – but he recoiled slightly at another point in his presser and said, ‘Well, you know what, it could have been others, also.’
The president-elect had suggested in a previous statement that mentioned China, as well, that Russia did do the hacking after a meeting with the heads of the heads of the CIA and FBI and the director of national intelligence.
He said in the Friday statement that ‘Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure’ the public and private sector must ‘aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks.’
The president-elect said he’d ordered his administration to bring him a report within 90 days that covers all kinds of hacking and how to prevent it. ‘We’re hacked by everybody,’ he declared today.
Talking about Russian hacking, specifically, and Putin, Trump said, ‘He shouldn’t be doing it. He wont be doing it. Russia will have much greater respect for our country when I’m leading it than when other people have lead it. You will see that.’