The CIA now believes that Russia meddled in the US presidential election through a series of hacks to bolster Donald Trump's chances of winning, the Washington Post reported Friday, citing officials briefed on the findings.
Trump's transition team brushed aside the CIA report on Friday and questioned the veracity of the agency.
"These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction," a statement released by Trump's advisors said. "The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It's now time to move on and 'Make America Great Again.'" (In fact, Trump's margin of victory in the electoral college was not particularly large when compared to previous elections.)
The report comes on the same day President Obama said he had ordered a “full review” of hacking activity related to the 2016 election, which was shrouded by almost daily Wikileaks posts regarding hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee.
The Obama administration has previously said it is "confident" the Russian government sought to "interfere with the US election process" via a series of mostly email hacks on political entities.
But the "consensus view" of the secret CIA assessment is that Russia's goal was getting Trump into the White House, US officials told the Washington Post. The CIA reportedly identified hackers with ties to the Russian government who provided the hacked emails to Wikileaks.
A unnamed senior administration official also told the New York Times that they have "high confidence" that the Russians also hacked the Republican National Committee, but "conspicuously released no documents."
This has been denied by the RNC, though, with spokesman Sean Spicer tweeting Friday, "The RNC was not 'hacked.' The @nytimes was told and chose to ignore. Exhibit #1 in the fake news."
Emboldened by their success in the US, intelligence officials told BuzzFeed News that Russian hackers now have their sights set on a number of European states facing elections in the coming year.
The CIA shared the assessment with key senators in a closed-door briefing last week, the Post reported.
Incoming Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said the reports were "simultaneously stunning and not surprising, given Russia’s disdain for democracy and admiration for autocracy"
"That any country could be meddling in our elections should shake both political parties to their core," he said in a statement. "Senate Democrats will join with our Republican colleagues next year to demand a congressional investigation and hearings to get to the bottom of this."
In a separate statement, Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said that "the Russians hacked our democratic institutions and sought to interfere in our elections and sow discord."
"Sadly, in this effort the Russians were spectacularly successful," he said.
Schiff, too, called for a congressional investigation and criticized Trump for his comments.
"Protecting the integrity of our elections is hindered when President-elect Trump and his transition team minimize or dismiss the intelligence assessments themselves," Schiff said. "Even more damaging are comments that impugn the tens of thousands of Americans who are at work every day of the year, many in great physical danger, to protect us and to provide our national leadership — regardless of political party — with the best information possible."
David Mack contributed to this report.