Calling the notion that Russian hacking helped President-elect Donald Trump win the presidency "absurd," Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) nonetheless acknowledged that the hacking existed and was helped along by President Barack Obama's fecklessness.
Cruz told "The Mike Gallagher" radio show Thursday that the prevalence of cybermeddling now is directly related to Obama and his administration "roll[ing] over for eight years" and allowing it to happen. The Hill reports:
“They have shown nothing but weakness and appeasement in the face of those attacks. This is something I hope and believe will change with the new administration," he said.
While it's clear Cruz believes there are Russian fingerprints on the digital attacks of late, he stopped short of saying the attacks directly influenced the election to benefit Trump over his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.
"I think that there’s no evidence whatsoever that Russia’s efforts against us, which have been longstanding, did anything to affect the campaign,” Cruz said. "It’s frankly patently absurd. You can’t credibly argue that [WikiLeaks’] disclosures impacted the election, because most voters never heard it."
However, according to YouGov, 40 percent of those polled said they'd heard "a lot" about Hillary Clinton's campaign Chairman John Podesta's email hack, which resulted in embarrassing campaign messages being posted and shared during the election. Another 41 percent said they had heard about the hack at least "a little." Only 20 percent said they'd never heard of it.
A CIA report released in early December alleged that Russian hacking occurred with the intent of helping Trump gain an advantage in the 2016 election. The FBI, initially skeptical of the report, has since backed it. Trump has been vehement in his rejection of the idea, saying the very notion that Russia wanted to help him win is an attempt to delegitimatize his victory over Clinton.
At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the committee: "We stand actually more resolutely on the strength [that Moscow interfered to help Republican Donald Trump win] than we did on Oct. 7."
But Cruz told Gallagher that the media is driving the discussion about Russia because they don't like the results of the election.
"They're partisan Democrats," he said.