CBS NEWS: Reince Priebus, incoming White House chief of staff, says President-elect Donald Trump believes that Russia and other countries have been hacking, and attempting to hack, American institutions for years -- and that the reason the recent election hack was "so large" wasn't necessarily because the effort by the Russians was great, but instead because it was "so easy."
Transcript, via Face the Nation:
JOHN DICKERSON: Joining us now from the Republican National Committee headquarters here in Washington, it’s the incoming White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus. You’re still chairman of the party. So Mr. Chairman, what exactly does incoming President-elect Donald Trump believe about Russian efforts to meddle in the election?
REINCE PRIEBUS: Well, I think he believes many of the things that we all believe, which is, you know, Russia and other countries have been hacking and attempting to attack American institutions for years, that Russia’s attack on American elections has been going back for over 50 years. So this is nothing new. And the fact that this particular hack was perpetrated by Russian entities is something that no one is disputing. But I think one of the issues here, John, and one of the issues that isn’t really being covered is that we have one of the two biggest political parties in the world, the D.N.C., that sat there like a sitting duck, allowed these entities into their computer systems. By their own admission, they said that they lacked the training and that they didn’t respond to the F.B.I. when they called.
JOHN DICKERSON: Let me—I understand, but he’ll be president of the United States, not the head of the D.N.C. So on this question of-- you say no one is--
REINCE PRIEBUS: Yeah, but--
JOHN DICKERSON: --disputing this, but let me just -- over the last couple of months, Donald Trump has resolutely disputed the findings of the intelligence agencies. And he’s gone beyond that. He’s not just been skeptical. He has compared the findings on this question of Russian hacking to the biggest blunder the intelligence agencies have made on Iraq. He said it was politically motivated. He said it was a part of a witch hunt. He has been solid in disputing it. So it seems like you’re saying he changed his mind.
REINCE PRIEBUS: No, I think you’re just conflating two different things. I mean, on one hand, you have the fact that Russia, China, other countries cyberattack the United States all the time. But on the other hand, you also have a President Obama who two weeks before he leaves office after he knew about these things had been going on since 2015 decides to then put out the biggest sanctions that we’ve ever put out on Russia in this regard in the history of America. When the Chinese hacked the O.P.M., we didn’t hear anything that happened after that.
JOHN DICKERSON: Let me--
REINCE PRIEBUS: So there’s a political angle here. Wait a second. There’s a political angle here, John, that is clearly politically motivated to discredit the victory of President-elect Trump. I think that-- that is absolutely indisputable. The reason why the D.N.C. piece matters is that the reason this particular hack was so large wasn’t necessarily because the effort was so great by the Russians. It was that it was so easy. I mean, John Podesta’s password into his system, do you know what his password was? Password. The fact that you had Donna Brazile admitting that the D.N.C. lacked
JOHN DICKERSON: Mr. Chairman—
REINCE PRIEBUS: The training which allowed all of this material to be released is incredible. It matters.