Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago
Donald Trump speaks to press outside his Mar-a-Lago estate Reuters

Revelations in a report about Russian attempts to influence the 2016 US election shown to top government leaders are "stunning" said top Democrat Nancy Pelosi after getting a briefing on Friday (6 January).

Pelosi's reaction came after President-elect Donald Trump called American intelligence agency findings that Russia worked to sway the election through fake news, social media and hacking a "witch-hunt".

"China, relatively recently, hacked 20 million government names," Trump told The New York Times on 6 January, citing a 2014 hack against the Office of Personnel Management. "How come nobody even talks about that? This is a political witch hunt."

That hack and the cyber capabilities of Iran, North Korea and terrorist groups, however, were discussed at a Senate hearing on foreign cyberthreats against the US on Thursday (5 January).

Pelosi said that James Clapper, US director of national intelligence, and three other top officials are on their way to brief Trump on the highest-level American intelligence agency findings. Parts of their reports, she said, will be released to the public later in the day.

"It was really quite stunning disclosure," said Pelosi, of the briefing, noting that Senate Democrat and Republican leaders and bipartisan heads of the intelligence committee attended.

"I think when you see this report, you will see with confidence how the intelligence community has identified what we have seen and I knew from the disruption at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee," she said.

Responsibility for the hacking and theft of emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and later a breach of the Democratic campaign in the spring and summer was tied to Russia in a statement by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in October.

"There is no question that the Russians disrupted and then released the information," said Pelosi. Many of the emails were published by Wikileaks in the final months of the election.

Pelosi said that she hopes that American intelligence agencies overcome their strong desire to protect their sensitive sources and methods and "release a little more information" to members of Congress.

Trump has repeatedly said that intelligence agency claims that Russia meddled in the US election is merely partisan politics. "Unless you catch 'hackers' in the act, it is very hard to determine who was doing the hacking," Trump wrote on Twitter on 12 December. By Wednesday (4 January) Trump officials were saying that "the intelligence world has become completely politicised."

Trump argued to The Times that investigations into Russian hacking are merely because the Democrats "got beaten very badly in the election" and are "very embarrassed about it."

Yet Pelosi said that Russian "disruption of our election" is "clearly evident" in the reports through the sources of the attacks, the tools used, and paths the hackers took to get to their targets online.