For reasons that remain unclear, Trump still refuses to acknowledge the U.S. intelligence community's conclusion that Putin's agencies were responsible for stealing the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign emails released on WikiLeaks. "I don't believe it. I don't believe they interfered," Trump says.Asked if he thought the conclusion of America's spies was politically driven, Trump says, "I think so."
It's not at all clear why, exactly, Trump believes this, and he's never explained what's led him to question the veracity of American intelligence -- other than his own personal preferences.It does help explain, however, why the president-elect has blown off most of the available national-security intelligence briefings that have been made available to him during the transition process: Trump doesn't seem to believe what U.S. agencies have to tell him.Once he's in office, making life-or-death decisions about international affairs, Trump's skepticism about his own intelligence agencies might make things ... how do I put this ... problematic.In related Trump/Russia news:* As Rachel noted on the show last night, the Republican president-elect is considering pro-Putin cabinet secretaries.* Putin himself offered public praise for Trump last week.* Viktor Nazarov, the governor of Omsk, Russia, declared in a radio interview the other day, "It turns out that United Russia won the elections in America."* Russia and Ukraine appear to be quarreling over which of them interfered more in the American presidential election.* We still don't know why Trump's operation may have lied to the public about pre-election communications with Russian officials.* And several U.S. Democratic senators are urging President Obama to declassify information on Russia's role in helping Trump win the election before Trump takes office.Eric Chenoweth, the co-director of the Institute for Democracy in Eastern Europe, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed two weeks ago, "In assessing Donald Trump's presidential victory, Americans continue to look away from this election's most alarming story: the successful effort by a hostile foreign power to manipulate public opinion before the vote."