WASHINGTON President-elect Donald Trump accepts the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia engaged in cyber attacks aimed at disrupting the presidential election and may take actions in response, his incoming chief of staff said on Sunday.
Reince Priebus, the former Republican National Committee chairman, said Trump understands that Moscow was behind the intrusions into the Democratic Party organizations. “He accepts the fact that this particular case was entities in Russia so that’s not the issue,” Priebus said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Priebus’ comments marked a major shift. Trump has repeatedly dismissed claims that the Russians were trying to help him, arguing that those charges are the product of his political opponents trying to undermine his victory.
It was the first acknowledgement from a senior member of the president-elect’s team that Trump has accepted that Moscow was involved in the hacking and subsequent disclosure of Democratic emails during the 2016 presidential election.
In a statement on Friday after receiving his intelligence briefing, Trump did not refer specifically to Russia’s role in the presidential campaign.
Priebus said Trump plans to order the intelligence community to make recommendations as to what should be done.
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Depending on those recommendations, “actions may be taken,” he said.
He did not elaborate.
(Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Caren Bohan and Mary Milliken)