US President Barack Obama has criticized those Republicans who appear to be siding with Russia over Washington’s hacking claims, saying President Vladimir Putin should not be trusted.
In an interview with ABC News on Friday, Obama said he was concerned about “Republicans or pundits or cable commentators who seem to have more confidence in Vladimir Putin than fellow Americans because those fellow Americans are Democrats." "That cannot be," Obama added.
When asked if he was referring to President-elect Donald Trump, the outgoing president said, "Well, what I will say is that -- and I said that after the election -- we have to remind ourselves that we're on the same team. Vladimir Putin is not on our team."
The Obama administration released an unclassified version of an intelligence report on Friday that indicates Putin personally ordered his government to help Trump win the presidential election in November.
“What is true is that the Russians intended to meddle and they meddled," Obama claimed.
The report, which was released by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Security Agency (NSA), alleged that Russia "sought to help" Trump by running a smear campaign against his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
Both Obama and Trump were previously presented with a classified version of the report. The president-elect, however, has openly been dismissive of the intelligence agencies' claims of Russia's involvement in the election. Russia has repeatedly denied the hack allegations.
On Friday, Obama’s top intelligence officials offered a two-hour briefing to Trump at Trump Tower in New York, after that he said the alleged hacking efforts had "absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election."
He went on to blame the Democratic National Committee for allowing the hacking to take place. "Gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee allowed hacking to take place," he tweeted. "The Republican National Committee had strong defense!"
Trump also announced on Saturday that as president he would appoint a team to develop a plan to "aggressively combat and stop cyberattacks."
As he was meeting intelligence officials in New York, the Republican-led Congress held a ceremonial final count on Friday and certified the Electoral College votes that officially confirmed Trump’s November victory.
Trump won 304 electoral votes compared to 227 garnered by Clinton, according to the tally announced by Vice President Joe Biden.