Trump aides say Democrats’ com­plaints are sour grapes

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Sour grapes. That’s how Don­ald Trump’s clos­est ad­vis­ers see Democrats’ com­plaints that Moscow hacked their pri­vate emails this elec­tion sea­son in a bid to sow dis­cord among their sup­port­ers and sway the elec­tion to­ward Repub­li­cans. The push­back comes ahead of the Elec­toral Col­lege vote, which was ex­pected to make of­fi­cial Trump’s elec­tion win and pave his way to take of­fice on Jan 20.

“Let’s as­sume it’s true,” Reince Priebus, Trump’s in­com­ing chief of staff, said Sun­day of Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the elec­tion. “There’s no ev­i­dence that shows that the out­come of the elec­tion was changed be­cause of a cou­ple dozen John Podesta emails that were out there.” The num­ber of leaked emails by Podesta, Hil­lary Clin­ton’s cam­paign man­ager, was ac­tu­ally closer to tens of thou­sands. And it’d be dif­fi­cult to prove ex­actly what in­flu­enced vot­ers. But Democrats said it was a per­sonal at­tack and a threat to democ­racy.

“The emails were weaponized,” said Donna Brazile, in­terim chair of the Demo­cratic Na­tional Com­mit­tee. “The re­lease of stolen, hacked emails caused a lot of con­fu­sion and of course it dis­rupted our daily cam­paign life.” For­eign pol­icy ex­perts say part of Rus­sia’s cal­cu­la­tion was likely a de­sire for pay­back for years of US crit­i­cism of its own elec­tions and to paint Amer­ica as a flawed cham­pion of democ­racy - po­ten­tially weak­en­ing it on the world stage.

“I would char­ac­ter­ize it as a thinly dis­guised, covert op­er­a­tion in­tended to dis­credit the Amer­i­can elec­tion and to ba­si­cally al­low the Rus­sians to com­mu­ni­cate to the rest of the world that our elec­tions are cor­rupt, in­com­pe­tent, rigged, what­ever - and there­fore no more hon­est than any­body else’s in the world in­clud­ing theirs,” said Robert Gates, who was de­fense sec­re­tary un­der Pres­i­dents Ge­orge W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Weak­en­ing Clin­ton

Gates, who is no longer in gov­ern­ment but has met pri­vately with Trump, said he couldn’t con­firm that Rus­sia was try­ing to help Trump win. But “I think it clearly was aimed at dis­cred­it­ing our elec­tions and I think it was aimed cer­tainly at weak­en­ing Mrs Clin­ton,” he said. Trump’s tran­si­tion team and loy­al­ists on Capi­tol Hill weren’t buy­ing it - at least not on the eve of Mon­day’s Elec­toral Col­lege vote. “Where’s the ev­i­dence?” asked Kellyanne Conway, an­other close Trump ad­viser.

On Obama’s vow to re­tal­i­ate against the Rus­sians for hack­ing, Conway said: “It seems like the pres­i­dent is un­der pres­sure from Team Hil­lary, who can’t ac­cept the elec­tion re­sults.” — AP

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