Breaking News Emails
The more the CIA struggles to prove its case that Russia influenced the U.S. election, the more Moscow seems to love it.
While Russian officials vehemently deny that they had anything to do with hacks, a report that aired repeatedly Monday on the state-sponsored TV channel Russia Today seemed to better capture the mood.
The report poured scorn on the CIA’s assessment, saying it offered no proof and compared to claims Saddam Hussein had WMD’s in Iraq — which is exactly what Trump had said in his response to the news as well.
Meanwhile a top lawmaker told NBC News Monday that the Kremlin never ordered the hacking and that if Russian nationals were involved, they were acting individually.
"This is a principle, it is not about America," Senator Andrey Klimov, Deputy head of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian Federation Council, told NBC News. "We do not want to change governments or political systems [in other countries]."
In the wide-ranging interview, Klimov touched on the U.S. election, Syrian War, and Russia's reported influence in national elections in several European countries. On Syria, he issued a scathing criticism of President Obama.
"Maybe he really believed that he can make this kind of paradise on the globe," said Klimov. "If he changes regimes, if he arranges everything everywhere like in America or more or less like in America, it will be a happy period."
That strategy, said Klimov, "is not possible." The brutal war in Syria, he said, had exposed the folly of Obama's foreign policy.
On Europe, Klimov was adamant that Russia was a neutral state actor and played no part behind the rise of pro-Kremlin parties in France, the U.K., Italy and elsewhere.
"We are not so powerful," said Klimov.
Russia, he said, was being used as a scapegoat by a political class that has lost its grip on power across the continent.
On Trump, Klimov denied that Russian President Vladimir Putin's widely reported distaste for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had tipped the scales in any way for President-elect Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election.
Despite Klimov's comments, it was clear Monday that Russia is enjoying its moment, even relishing its chance to soon work with a Trump administration. Russian interests are expected to be forcefully defended under a Trump administration and many in the Kremlin feel they can do business with no questions asked.
"He [Trump] is looking for better affairs with Moscow," said Klimov. "Is something wrong with that?"