WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump thinks the hacking that occurred during the 2016 election “probably was Russia,” a White House spokeswoman said Thursday, days after White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters he didn’t know if Trump believed the hacking was carried out by Russia.
Trump has long raised doubts about whether Russia was behind the hacking, something most Republicans and the entire intelligence community has determined. He raised those doubts again on Twitter Thursday.
“Why did Democratic National Committee turn down the DHS offer to protect against hacks (long prior to election). It’s all a big Dem HOAX,” he tweeted. “Why did the DNC REFUSE to turn over its Server to the FBI, and still hasn’t? It’s all a big Dem scam and excuse for losing the election!”
Every United States intelligence agency concluded months ago that Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic organizations during the 2016 election. The agencies also concluded that the efforts were meant to help Trump get elected, at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s expense.
“I think he has made it clear and been consistent that while everyone agrees the result of the election wasn’t influenced, he thinks that it probably was Russia,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday at an off-camera briefing with reporters. “I think, regardless, President Trump has made it clear we have to protect the integrity of our electoral system.”
Sanders noted that Trump said during a news conference in January, “I think it was Russia, but I think we also get hacked by other countries and other people.”
He later said he would “go along” with Russia, but thought it also could have been China.
In a contentious exchange on Tuesday, Spicer was unable to say whether Trump stood by those comments.
“I have not sat down and talked to him about that specifically,” he said, unable to answer yet another question from the White House podium.
The Trump administration’s response to 2016 hacking has, so far, been tepid, a direct contrast with the Obama administration.
Trump and his top aides have said they want to see a full and thorough review of what happened during the election, but Trump has continually raised questions about whether anything actually happened.