On Friday, United States intelligence officials conducted a private meeting with President-elect Donald Trump at his headquarters in Trump Tower. In a nutshell, the officials told Trump that Russian President Vladimir Putin was responsible for directing Russian hackers to undermine the U.S. democratic process by hacking the emails of the Democratic National Committee. They also told him that their motive was to reduce Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the election because they wanted Trump to win.
Trump did not appear to believe in what the intelligence officials had told him. This shouldn’t be a surprise since he spent the last few months criticizing the intelligence community for saying that the Russian government helped him win the election. After all, if Trump were to admit that were true, then it would undermine his election victory and he certainly doesn’t want to risk that.
This has many political spectators and those in the intelligence community wondering about how seriously Trump will take the advice of his intelligence officials when he’s in office. If he is so quick to denounce their intelligence findings about the Russian hackers, then what else will he be quick to denounce? Trump’s own insecurities could easily put the nation at risk if he were to ignore future intelligence information like this.
The private meeting at Trump Tower occurred at 1 PM. Some of the intelligence officials in attendance were CIA Director John Brennan, NSA Director Mike Rogers, and FBI Director James Comey. Trump didn’t refer to any of them by name in his tweets about the meeting, but his disparagement of their findings couldn’t be clearer.
Trump is apparently alone in his thoughts about Russia not being involved. Other Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, have already made public statements where they acknowledge the threat of Russian hackers and how they interfered with the election. These Republicans seemed to distance themselves from Trump’s comments on the matter.