Donald Trump adviser says US may take action against Russia over election hacking

'He accepts the fact that this particular case was entities in Russia', says the future President's chief of staff

Sunday 08 January 2017 17:14
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Trump's transition team has come under renewed attack
Trump's transition team has come under renewed attack

Donald Trump accepts the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that Russia engaged in cyber attacks aimed at disrupting the presidential election and may take actions in response, his incoming chief of staff has said.

Reince Priebus, the former Republican National Committee chairman, said Trump understands that Moscow was behind the intrusions into the Democratic Party organisations.

"He accepts the fact that this particular case was entities in Russia so that's not the issue," Priebus said on "Fox News Sunday."

Priebus' comments marked a major shift. Trump has repeatedly dismissed claims that the Russians were trying to help him, arguing that those charges are the product of his political opponents trying to undermine his victory.

It was the first acknowledgement from a senior member of the president-elect's team that Trump has accepted that Moscow was involved in the hacking and subsequent disclosure of Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential election.

In a statement on Friday after receiving his intelligence briefing, Trump did not refer specifically to Russia's role in the presidential campaign.

Priebus said Trump plans to order the intelligence community to make recommendations as to what should be done. Depending on those recommendations, "actions may be taken," he said.

The comments come amid a growing row engulfing the President's elect's transition team.

The Office of Government Ethics has said several Trump picks haven't completed a full review to avoid conflicts of interest.

The Republican-run Senate is moving quickly to hold at least nine confirmation hearings in the coming week — hoping to get members of the president-elect's team in place soon after he takes office Jan. 20.

The Senate's Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, has said the transition team is in "collusion" with Senate Republicans to "jam" the nominees through without proper screening.

But Priebus has insisted the ethics office has all the information needs and must move faster.

Meanwhile, publisher HarperCollins has said it is looking into plagiarism allegations against syndicated talk show host Monica Crowley, who has been named a communications specialist for the incoming Trump administration.

CNN has reported that Crowley plagiarised sections of her 2012 book, "What The (Bleep) Just Happened."

The report says it found more than 50 examples of plagiarism from numerous sources, including copying with no changes or minimal changes from news articles, other columnists and think tanks.

HarperCollins spokeswoman Tina Andreadis says the publisher has no comment but is "looking into the matter."

Crowley has been named Trump's director of communications for the White House's National Security Council.

In response to the CNN report, President-elect Donald Trump transition team says it is standing by Crowley and criticising any attempt to discredit her as "politically motivated."

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