Published December 10, 2016
Donald Trump’s presidential transition team late Friday criticized President Obama's order for a full-scale review of campaign-season cyber-attacks allegedly linked to Russia, saying it’s “time to move on.”
Trump has been repeatedly dismissive of the intelligence community's determination that Russia sought through hacking to disrupt the U.S. election, which he won in a stunning upset over Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It's now time to move on and `Make America Great Again,’ ” the transition team said. "These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.”
The investigation ordered by Obama will be a "deep dive" into a possible pattern of increased "malicious cyber activity" timed to the campaign season, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Friday.
On Saturday, New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, the next Senate minority leader, called for the Republican-led Congress to address the issue.
“Reports of the CIA’s conclusion that Russia actively sought to help elect Donald Trump are simultaneously stunning and not surprising, given Russia’s disdain for democracy and admiration for autocracy,” Schumer said. “Senate Democrats will join with our Republican colleagues next year to demand a congressional investigation and hearings to get to the bottom of this.”
The administration probe will include looking into the email hacks that rattled the presidential campaign. It also will look at the tactics, targets, key actors and the U.S. government's response to the hacks, as well as incidents reported in past elections,.
The president ordered the report earlier in the week and asked that it be completed before he leaves office next month, Schultz said.
The Washington Post reported Friday that the CIA has concluded that Russia aimed specifically to help Trump, a Republican, win the presidency.
The Kremlin has rejected the hacking accusations.
In the months leading up to the election, email accounts of Democratic Party officials and a top Clinton campaign aide were breached, emails leaked and embarrassing and private emails posted online. Many Democrats believe the hackings benefited Trump's bid.
Schultz said the president sought the probe as a way of improving U.S. defense against cyberattacks and was not intending to question the legitimacy of Trump's victory.
Obama's move comes as Democratic lawmakers have been pushing Obama to declassify more information about Russia's role, fearing that Trump, who has promised a warmer relationship with Moscow, may not prioritize the issue.
The White House said it would make parts of the report public and would brief lawmakers and relevant state officials on the findings.
It emphasized the report would not focus solely on Russian operations or email hacks involving Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta and Democratic National Committee accounts. The emails were made public by WikiLeaks.
Schultz said intelligence officials would be reviewing incidents going back to the 2008 presidential campaign, when the campaigns of Sen. John McCain and Obama were breached by hackers.
The intelligence community has already concluded that Russia-backed actors likely were involved in breaching and releasing the Democratic Party emails.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has denied the Russian government or any other “state parties” were the source for the 50,000 emails, which fueled weeks of embarrassing coverage for the Clinton campaign detailing behind-the-scenes discussions and arguments among advisers and family members.
Many Democrats believe the disclosures in emails stolen from Democratic Party officials and Podesta’s account benefited Trump.
Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway told “Fox & Friends” on Friday that Democrats “won’t learn the lessons” from the 2016 race.
"A little self-awareness would do for a team that is blaming everybody but themselves for this. It’s Bernie Sanders’ fault … It’s the alt-right’s fault," she said. "It’s … fake news’ fault. It’s Russian interference. It’s James Comey. ... How about you had no message?"
Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Jake Gibson and Catherine Herridge and The Associated Press contributed to this report.