‘I’m asking you a simple question’: Fox News host confronts RNC chair over Trump’s denial of Russia hacks

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Donald Trump’s incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus, on Fox News.
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Fox News Sunday

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Sunday pushed President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming chief of staff to answer whether Trump believed US intelligence reports that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election through strategically hacked and leaked private emails from Democratic Party organizations and officials.

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Wallace interjected when Reince Priebus argued first that Trump would accept US intelligence findings if they were made public. The anchor noted that the CIA’s director, John Brennan, issued a memo to employees saying the American intelligence community as a whole believed that Russia meddled in the election.

“A lot of these things, though Chris, are coming through third parties. We haven’t heard from Comey,” Priebus said when asked about the reports, referring to the FBI’s director, James Comey.

“This is CIA Director Brennan,” Wallace replied. “You think he’s lying about what Jim Comey thinks?”

Priebus said he did not believe that Brennan was lying but added that Trump would accept that Russia interfered in the US election if intelligence leaders, including Comey and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, publicly came out and said so.

“It’d sure be nice to hear from everybody,” Priebus said. “If there really is this conclusive opinion among all of these intelligence agencies, then they should issue a report and stand in front of a camera and make the case.”

He added: “I think he would accept the conclusion if these intelligence professionals would get together, put out a report, and show the American people that they’re actually on the same page as opposed to third parties through The Washington Post.”

Trump has so far refused to publicly accept intelligence agencies’ assessments, which have been relayed through reports in various outlets, including The New York Times and The Washington Post. Trump has called the reports “ridiculous” and insisted that the hacker “could be somebody sitting in a bed someplace.”

The Republican National Committee chair also dismissed the idea that the Democrats’ hacked and leaked emails were enough to sway the election in Trump’s favor.

“There’s no evidence that shows that the outcome of the election was changed because a couple dozen John Podesta emails were out there,” Priebus said, referring to the steady drip of hacked emails that were released from the Hillary Clinton campaign chair’s personal account in the weeks leading up to Election Day.

Watch the exchange here: