President-elect Donald Trump's senior aide Kellyanne Conway has defended his response to the CIA report that Russia worked to interfere in the 2016 election in his favour. Conway appeared on CBS's Face the Nation to say the idea of Russian influence in the election was "laughable and ridiculous".
The president-elect "thinks people are trying to re-litigate the election," Conway said during the 11 December broadcast. "First it was [FBI Director] Jim Comey's fault. Then we're going to have a recount. Then it's the alt-right's fault. Now it's Russian interference."
Conway's comments echoed statements made by Trump to Fox News that he does not believe the CIA's conclusion that Moscow interfered in the presidential election to push him to victory. Trump has maintained that he respects the intelligence community but called the CIA's report a "laughing point".
"He absolutely respects the intelligence community. He's made clear he's going to put his own people in there as well," Conway said. "What he's said is laughable and ridiculous is this entire notion ... that somehow this was meant to defeat Hillary Clinton and elevate him to the presidency. It's untrue and it's also unfair."
Following a Washington Post story revealing that intelligence agencies have concluded that individuals connected to Moscow worked to hurt Hillary Clinton's chances of winning the election, Trump's camp has adamantly denied the veracity of the report. The transition team released a pointed statement against the CIA late on 9 December dismissing the conclusion.
"These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction," the statement said. "The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It's now time to move on and 'Make American Great Again'."
Conway urged a "peaceful transition" and suggested following President Obama's post-election actions. "I want to tell everybody, take cues and the clues from President Obama himself, who has not just congratulated Donald Trump as the new president but conceded to him," she said.
According to CBS News, Conway said the president-elect would allow a congressional investigation into the issue to continue. She said Trump "would not interfere in the legislative branch in that way" but added that he has "made very clear" his views on the subject.
Conway also defended Trump's decision to only receive the president's intelligence briefings once a week instead of daily. "He appreciates these briefings but let me make very clear that even me, as a close adviser, and many others with whom you'll be speaking, do not have access to those top secret briefings," she said. "We don't have that type of clearance, nor should we. So he is not divulging the information he has, [and] nor should he."