As U.S. intelligence officials have raised increasing alarm this week over Russia’s meddling in the presidential election, Donald Trump has sought to recast the investigation as a matter of old-fashioned politics rather than national security. The president-elect has reacted to mounting pressure to take stronger steps against Russia not only by trying to discredit the intelligence community but also by suggesting that the intense Washington focus on the issue is being driven by political rivals still stung by his electoral victory. The assessment from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an “influence campaign” to harm Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and aid Trump’s candidacy.
The President-elect himself, however, dismissed the allegations, arguing that Russia “does not possess the capabilities to influence anything in the United States, let alone something as important as the presidential election.” “I’m not going to repeat myself, but I’ve said time and time again that I have great respect for Vladimir Putin, and in addition to the fact that such an order from him would be impossible, there’s also the small fact that, even if he gave such an order, there’s no way anyone in Russia would have been able to actually do it. I mean, I respect the heck out of the guy, but let’s be real – there’s no way they have the technology over there to do something like that,” Trump told The New York Times in a Friday interview.
“But, since there’s always going to be conspiracy theorists both here and everywhere else, there are ways of stopping that sort of rumors once and for all,” he added. “At the end of the day and if everything else fails, we can always do the same thing we have planned for Mexico – we can build ourselves a 12-foot-high firewall and then force the Russian Federation to pay for it. I mean, personally, I think that’s a bit too much, since this whole thing is nothing more than a political witch hunt, but hey – if the American people ask for it, I will oblige. After all, it is my sworn duty as the new president. And I guarantee that there’s no way another hack, fictional or otherwise, is ever going to take place ever again with that firewall in place. The same goes for illegal immigrants and the Trump Wall between Mexico and the U.S.”
The President-elect also said, “And while we’re on the subject, I think we’d have much less trouble getting Russia to pay for the firewall, since their economy is much stronger and better compared to Mexico’s. In fact, the biggest problem I see here is not how we’re going to get them to pay for it; it’s how are we going to explain to them what a firewall is in the first place. Bare in mind, we’re talking about an ex-communist country here; they probably still eat organic food and use tractors when farming. For all we know, they’ve likely never even heard of GMO. We might need to educate them first on what firewalls are and how many tons of mortar and bricks goes into building them; the payment part is going to be a piece of cake. That’s why there’s no way they hacked the election, no way at all, I’m telling you,” Trump concluded.