Trump promises revelation about Russian hacking scandal

US president-elect: information to be released this week may cast doubt on allegations

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump questions whether Russia was responsible for computer hacks of Democratic Party officials, as he heads into a New Year's Party in Florida.

 

US president-elect Donald Trump, expressing lingering scepticism about intelligence assessments of Russian interference in the election, said Saturday evening that he knew “things that other people don’t know” about the hacking and that the information would be revealed “on Tuesday or Wednesday”.

Speaking to a handful of reporters outside his Palm Beach, Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, Mr Trump cast his declarations of doubt as an effort to seek the truth.

“I just want them to be sure because it’s a pretty serious charge,” he said of the intelligence agencies. To make his point, he referred to intelligence cited by the George W Bush administration to support its march to war in 2003.

“If you look at the weapons of mass destruction, that was a disaster, and they were wrong. So I want them to be sure,” he said.

“I think it’s unfair if they don’t know. And I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don’t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation.”

When asked what he knew that others did not, he declined to comment, saying only: “You’ll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday.”

‘No computer is safe’

Mr Trump, who does not use email, also advised people to avoid computers when dealing with delicate material.

“If you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier the old-fashioned way, because I’ll tell you what, no computer is safe,” he said.

“ I don’t care what they say, no computer is safe. I have a boy who’s 10 years old; he can do anything with a computer. You want something to really go without detection? Write it out and have it sent by courier.”

The comments on Saturday were a departure from a statement Mr Trump issued through transition officials last week, in which he said that it was time for people to “move on” from the hacking issue but that he would be briefed on the matter by intelligence officials early in the new year.

On Thursday, President Barack Obama ordered a set of retaliatory measures against Russia over the hacking. The United States expelled 35 Russian diplomats and shuttered two estates it claimed had been used for intelligence gathering.

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, declined to respond in kind to the measures, a gesture that Mr Trump appeared to view favourably. He praised it on Twitter and criticised media coverage that had been harsh about Russia.

Mr Trump, who has sought a warmer relationship with Mr Putin, has repeatedly scoffed at the notion that Russia was behind the hacking, a stance at odds with members of his own party. At one point, Trump declared that the hacking might have been the work of “someone sitting on their bed weighing 400 pounds”.

– The New York Times News Service