''The president has time and time again asked the intelligence community to provide him with solid, up-to-date, unvarnished assessments... and the president is entirely confident that's what they have produced in this case,'' said White House spokesman Josh Earnest, regarding cyber attack claims. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest says the Obama administration takes "very seriously" claims that Russia staged cyber attacks on Democrats in the 2016 election campaign. The top U.S. intelligence official told Congress on Thursday (January 5) he was "even more resolute" in his belief that Russia staged cyber attacks, rebuking persistent skepticism from Republican President-elect Donald Trump about whether Moscow was involved. "The president has time and time again asked the intelligence community to provide him with solid, up-to-date, unvarnished assessments about what's happening around the world and the president's decision-making has been very well served by that. And the president is entirely confident that's what they have produced in this case," said Earnest. He said President Obama was being briefed on the intelligence report and that President-elect Donald Trump is scheduled to be briefed on it Friday. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he had a very high level of confidence that Russia hacked Democratic Party institutions and operatives, as well as disseminating propaganda and fake news aimed at the Nov. 8 election. "Our assessment now is even more resolute than it was" on Oct. 7 when the government first publicly accused Russia, Clapper told a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He said a motive for the attack would be made public next week. Although Trump called himself a "big fan" of intelligence agencies, he is heading for a conflict over the issue because he has cast doubt on their assessments that Russia targeted the election.