Speaking to the Senate today, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper openly disagreed with President-elect Donald Trump on the narrative of the 2016 presidential election, insisting he was “even more resolute” that the Russians had hacked the election, and promising some evidence would be made public next week.
Clapper claimed Russia had meddled in the US election not just through alleged hacking of the Clinton campaign, but by “spreading of propaganda,” saying that the existence of state-run television station RT played a role in the election by “disparaging our system.”
Clapper then went on to lash Trump for being so vocal in questioning the allegations, saying that there was a difference between “healthy skepticism” by lawmakers and open disparagement of the intelligence community by not accepting their findings.
The evidence underpinning the allegations remains almost entirely secret, with Clapper claiming Russia’s involvement in the US election was “unprecedented,” but not offering any specifics, beyond the fact that RT exists and sometimes publishes stories embarrassing to the US government.
Beyond whatever Clapper intends to reveal next week, officials familiar with the situation say one of the key pieces of “evidence” they have is secret communications among Russian leaders showing they were happy that Trump won the election, which intelligence officials are presenting as proof they made it happen.
Trump has rejected the claims, insisting his campaign never had contact with Russian officials. The Trump team has also been quoted as concerned about the increased politicization of the intelligence community in the US.