While formally nominating retired Marine general John Kelly to be secretary of Homeland Security, Donald Trump and aides spent Monday interviewing other job applicants and disputing CIA claims that Russia interfered in the election to help elect the New York businessman.
“Unless you catch ‘hackers’ in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking,” Trump tweeted, echoing comments he made on Fox News Sunday over the weekend.
In another tweet, Trump said: “Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory!”
Trump and his aides said Democrats are pushing the Russia angle in order to excuse their election loss. Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller called it part of an effort to “de-legitimize” the president-elect’s victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., meanwhile, joined a growing list of lawmakers from both parties in calling for a probe into Russia’s election activity, including email hacks of Democratic and Clinton campaign officials.
“Obviously any foreign breach of our cybersecurity measures is disturbing, and I strongly condemn any such efforts,” the Republican leader told reporters.