Updated: 12/12/16 : 06:52:30
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World :: Trump brands as 'ridiculous' CIA claim of Russia influence in US election

World :: Trump says CIA claim of Russia influence in election 'ridiculous'

Donald Trump has described as "ridiculous" the CIA's reported conclusion that Russia interfered in the US presidential election to boost his chances of winning.

The US President-elect said the agency's assessment was being used by Democrats as "just another excuse" for his surprise victory against Hillary Clinton last month.

The CIA has apparently said with "high confidence" that Russia sought to influence the election on behalf of the Republican candidate through cyberattacks.

But Mr Trump made clear he rejected the conclusion, saying to Fox News Sunday: "Nobody really knows, and hacking is very interesting.

"Once they hack, if you don't catch them in the act you're not going to catch them.

"They have no idea if it's Russia or China or somebody. It could be somebody sitting in a bed some place."

Mr Trump said he does not necessarily oppose President Barack Obama's order for intelligence agencies to review cyberattacks and foreign interference during the 2016 election cycle.

But the billionaire added in any such effort "you should not just say 'Russia'. You should say other countries also, and maybe other individuals".

A bipartisan group of senators, including John McCain, has described the reports of Russian interference as serious and "should alarm every American".

The Washington Post on Friday, citing an official, reported that individuals with connections to Moscow provided website WikiLeaks with emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee, Democratic nominee Mrs Clinton's campaign chief and others.

Those emails were steadily released through WikiLeaks in the months before the election and damaged Mrs Clinton's campaign.

The newspaper reported the aim was to help Mr Trump win, not just to undermine the US election process.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump has risked a row with Beijing by questioning whether the US had to be bound by its longstanding position that Taiwan is part of "one China".

And he brushed aside Beijing's concerns about his decision to accept a phone call from Taiwan's President.

He said: "I fully understand the 'one China policy', but I don't know why we have to be bound by a 'one China policy' unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade."

The congratulatory call Mr Trump accepted from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen was the first such contact with Taiwan by a US president-elect or president since Jimmy Carter switched diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China in 1979.

Taiwan is one of China's most sensitive policy issues, and China generally criticises any form of official contact by foreign governments with Taiwan's leaders.

Mr Trump criticised China over its policies on issues like currency, the South China Sea and North Korea and said it was not up to Beijing to decide whether he should take a call from Taiwan's leader.