President-elect Donald Trump spent the weekend criticizing a CIA report that suggested Russian interference in the United States presidential election in his own inimitable fashion. Of course, Trump can hardly be blamed for defending his election victory as legitimate, but his strident tone and unfiltered tweeting style left him defending a new charge: that he does not respect the intelligence community.
In an interview Monday morning, Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway defended Trump's criticism of the CIA report and his respect for the intelligence community as a whole. Speaking with George Stephanopolous on ABC's "Good Morning America," Conway claimed that Trump did not dispute the finding that Russians likely participated in the hack of former Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta's emails but merely the conclusion that this changed the election result in America. She also stated her belief that these arguments are being made solely due to the fact that people did not like the election results:
What he said yesterday is what he is calling laughable and ridiculous, George, is the specific conclusion that what Russia did led to his victory and Hillary Clinton's defeat. That's where our beef is.
It is, of course, difficult to assess the extent to which the steady drumbeat of information from Podesta's email account — regularly published on Wikileaks — did political harm to Clinton, especially in a tightly contested election. But Trump himself often used the material found on Wikileaks in public attacks against Clinton, indicating that he, at least, believed that they did have some political value.