SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Chris Stewart says there's no evidence that Russian hacking into U.S. elections was designed to put Donald Trump in the White House over Hillary Clinton.
A member of the House Intelligence Committee, the Utah Republican said neither the CIA nor the FBI in a meeting last week would say that the Russians wanted Trump to win.
"This narrative that the CIA concluded that the Russians were tying to help Donald Trump just isn't true. The analysis just doesn't support that idea," Stewart said Monday.
The Washington Post reported over the weekend that the CIA concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Trump win the presidency, rather than just to erode confidence in the U.S. electoral system.
Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, the Post reported, citing U.S. officials.
Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.
Stewart said that notion is coming from people advocating for a view that benefits them politically. The congressman said there's no logical argument for the Russians favoring Trump over Clinton.
"They knew what they were going to get with Hillary Clinton. They've been rolling this administration for the last eight years. How in the world can someone suppose that they think Mr. Trump is going to be better for Russian interests than Secretary Clinton would be," the congressman said.
Trump, he said, has promised to rebuild the military, put American interests first and be more aggressive on the world stage.
"I don't think that's good for the Russians," said Stewart, who described Vladimir Putin as a "KGB thug."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is among several senators calling for a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into Russian hacking. House Speader Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., also supports an investigation.
Stewart said the House committee already started looking into the issue last week. He said he when the CIA report become public, which he said should happen, the truth will come out.
Trump took to Twitter on Monday to deny that Russian intelligence promoted his election.
"Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card? It would be called conspiracy theory!" Trump tweeted.
The U.S. government formally accused Russia of trying to disrupt the democratic process through its hacking in early October, but it stopped short of saying the goal was to elect Trump.