United States intelligence chiefs reaffirmed Tuesday night to a Senate panel that they believe Russia hacked the 2016 presidential election and stated that Russia is trying to intervene again in the 2018 congressional elections.
But three anonymous sources cited by CNN as being close to President Donald Trump say that he still doesn’t believe Russia meddled at all in the presidential election. The sources added that Trump despises the thought that he needed help to win the election.
Since his victory, he has falsely claimed he had the “largest electoral win since Ronald Reagan” and has publicly bragged about defeating Hillary Clinton despite losing the popular vote.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in the Tuesday Senate Intelligence Committee alongside fellow U.S. intelligence chiefs that Russia may be trying to intervene in coming elections.
“Yes we have seen Russian activity and intentions to have an impact on the next election cycling here,” he said.
Dan Coats, the director of National Intelligence in the U.S., echoed Pompeo’s statements by saying Russian actors have gotten away with election rigging in 2016 and will try again a second time.
“There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 US midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations,” Coats said.
He added that the U.S. intelligence committee believes Russia has used and will use “propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokesmen and other means” to tap into the U.S. electoral process.
Last November, Trump said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has denied any involvement with or knowledge of Russian hacking into the 2016 elections.
“Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that,'” Trump said then of Putin. “And I believe, I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it.”
During the Senate panel, one intelligence officer said that Trump has given no specific instructions on preventing possible election hacking for the upcoming midterm elections.
“We’ve had more than a year to get our act together and address the threat posed by Russia and implement a strategy to deter future attacks. But we still do not have a plan,” said Virginia Senator Mark Warner.