Rep. Chris Stewart says he’s seen no “direct” evidence that Russia tried to influence the 2016 election for Donald Trump.
Stewart is a member of the House Intelligence Committee, which was briefed on the election hacking issue last week. Stewart was a guest on the “I Have Questions with Bryan Schott” podcast where he said there’s no consensus in the intelligence community that Russia tried to put their thumbs on the scale.
“One of the things I can tell you is again and again and again. Democratic members of our committee tried to get the CIA and the FBI to say], “Did you conclude that they wanted Donald Trump to win?” said Stewart. “Was there an attempt to manipulate the election so that Donald Trump would win? The answer was “we have not reached that conclusion.”
Numerous reports surfaced over the weekend that the CIA had concluded that Russian hackers worked to help elect Trump over Hillary Clinton. Stewart strongly disagrees with those stories.
“This is mostly conspiracy theory, and it’s to advocate for a political point of view. Selfishly, I’m pretty happy that the Democrats aren’t willing to honestly look at their past election and to analyze themselves and ask “why did we lose?” If they conclude they lost because Vladimir Putin wanted Donald Trump to win, that’s nuts.”
Stewart also says he sees no logical reason for the Russians to want Trump over Clinton.
“They knew who they were working with Secretary Clinton. They have rolled this administration for eight years. I think they knew exactly how they could manipulate and get their desired outcomes with Secretary Clinton,” he says.
“Mr. Trump is an unknown entity. Trump has already said he is going to rebuild the military and he’s going to be much more aggressive in advocating for American interests around the world. Mr. Trump has said he’s going to have America’s interests at heart. Find me a logical argument that the Russians would conclude that Mr. Trump is to their benefit.”
Stewart says the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are already planning to hold hearings about the Russian hacking allegations.
“We want the American people to know, and we want to get out as much of this information that we can.”