President-elect Donald Trump made nice with the intelligence community in a statement after he received a briefing from officials Friday. But despite his toned-down rhetoric, he didn't concede that Russia was responsible for political hacks during the 2016 US election.
Instead, he cast further doubt on the idea that the hacks had any effect on the election whatsoever.
Trump's statement marks a shift in tone toward intelligence officials without giving any ground on how he views the hacks. Trump has criticized the intelligence community for weeks, dismissing their assessment that Russia was responsible for hacks against the Democratic National Committee and other political organizations in the lead up to the election. "These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction," his transition team said in a statement in December.
On Friday, Trump first praised US intelligence workers, saying in his statement, "I have tremendous respect for the work and service done by the men and women of this community to our great nation."
He went on to name a laundry list of parties, including Russia, that "are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democrat National Committee."
Also on that list: "China, other countries, outside groups and people."
Despite these efforts, "there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines," Trump said.