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Trump cites Julian Assange as proof that Russia didn’t hack Democrats, flouting US intelligence reports

Donald Trump

AP

Donald Trump.

President-elect Donald Trump continued to dispute US intelligence reports that Russia strategically hacked and leaked internal emails from top Democratic sources, citing recent statements from embattled WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

On Wednesday, the president-elect blasted out a series of tweets quoting Assange’s Tuesday interview with Fox News host and major supporter Sean Hannity in which the WikiLeaks founder parroted much of Trump’s rhetoric criticizing media outlets.

“Julian Assange said ‘a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta’ — why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!” Trump tweeted.

The president-elect then blamed the Democratic National Committee for not taking more steps to block hackers, and claimed that DNC had not addressed the content of some leaked emails, though several top figures at the organization resigned after emails emerged showing several offering criticism of Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Since reports emerged that intelligence agencies found substantial evidence that Russia meddled in the US election, Trump has steadfastly continued to cast doubt over the credibility of US intelligence officials on the subject.

The comments came just hours after Trump mocked US intelligence agencies for postponing a private intelligence briefing scheduled for Friday on the subject of the Russian hacks.

While Trump offered some of the most high-profile affirmation of Assange’s worldview, other American lawmakers continue to slam the WikiLeaks founder.

Speaking with radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed Trump’s tweets, but called Assange a “syncophant for Russia,” a likely allusion to Assange’s dismissal of WikiLeaks’ need to find and distribute internal Russian communications.

President Barack Obama continues to ramp up pressure on Russia in the waning days of his administration.

Last week, Obama issued new sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies, and booted a number of diplomats and their families from the US.

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