U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) says President-elect Donald Trump has given Russian President Vladimir Putin a gift by dismissing the CIA’s conclusion that Russia hacked emails to try to interfere with U.S. elections. McCaskill says when Trump trashes U.S. intelligence officials, it helps America’s enemies.
“It helps Iran. It helps North Korea. It helps China,” says McCaskill. “I know that a number of Republicans agree with me that this is a moment where we should be non-partisan.”
Trump has been skeptical of Russia’s hacking of emails to try to influence November’s general election. McCaskill says some Republicans are inappropriately being quiet about Trump’s comments involving CIA officials.
“The American people wouldn’t stand for this if he was attacking the military’s credibility the way he has attacked the intelligence community’s credibility,” says McCaskill. “The reason, I think, he has done that there is a lack of understanding that, in fact, the intelligence community by and large is the military community.”
McCaskill says other Republicans, like Senators John McCain (R-Arizona), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) have been outspoken about Trump’s comments on the CIA’s investigation.
Several intelligence leaders are meeting with Trump today to explain why they’ve concluded that Russian officials authorized the hacking.
Meanwhile, Trump is reportedly planning to cut CIA staffing, but McCaskill expects many Republicans to aggressively oppose such a move.
“Cyber warfare is real and it is not going anymore. For us to disarm right now in that area, could have grave consequences to the safety and security of our nation,” says McCaskill.
Supporters of a restructuring say the agency has become bloated and politicized.