Utah Congressman says Trump statement on intelligence community ‘not helpful’

Posted at 6:21 PM, Dec 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-12 20:21:47-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Congressman Chris Stewart has met with Intelligence officials in his role on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, and he says Russian hacking is a serious threat and they are determined to undermine faith in U.S. elections.

In this interview, he's definitive that there's no evidence of an intention to help Donald Trump, but he also says Trump has not helped the situation by attacking the intelligence community.

Here's a transcript of Stewarts' remarks on the subject to Fox 13 News' Max Roth:

Max Roth: "So you're saying there's no evidence that [the Russians] wanted to support Trump? I mean, the fact that they only released material that's damaging to Democrats, you don't think that's evidence?"

Chris Stewart: "No it's not evidence because what you have to ask is, did they have evidence that they could have released that they were able to penetrate as successfully to the RNC (Republican National Committee) and other Republican operatives, and the RNC has said, and I'll let them speak for themselves, but they have said we were not hacked to the degree the DNC (Democratic National Committee) was or these other individuals. And once again they want to weaken our faith and trust in this. I don't think, and in fact I can say this definitively having been in a briefing last week where this question was asked again and again, and the narrative that has been reported in the last few days where they say that the intelligence community says that it was the Russians wanting Donald Trump to win, I'm telling you: That's not true."

Roth: "'That's not true.' That's a really definitive statement. You're saying nothing's gonna come out from the CIA, no official evidence is going to come out that says that you're wrong on this?"

Stewart: "I'm very comfortable saying that. I've reviewed that comment with the intelligence community. I've reviewed it with our lawyers, and, I'm telling you from what we've seen at this point, for some to stand up and say like some did last week the intelligence community said they were trying to help Donald Trump, I'm telling you that's not true."

Roth: "Last question, really significant I think. Why doesn't Donald Trump say that? Why doesn't the President-elect in your party say this is a serious problem, we have to address it? 'Yes the Russians are going after our election system, but I don't think they were supporting me.'"

Stewart: "As you've just said that's very clear, and I think the American people would appreciate that kind of clarity. I wish he would be more than clear and I think probably with a little time he will be, but in the meanwhile there are others of us that, I think it's important to try to bring that clarity."

Roth: "So you think he's not being as clear as he should be? But there's also that statement where he came out and said, 'These are the people,' and he's talking about the intelligence community, 'These are the people who said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.' Why say that?"

Stewart: "Yeah, it wasn't very helpful and I've talked to some leaders in the Intelligence community, and they don't think it was very helpful as well. But I will say this: Mike Pompeo is a good friend of mine, the future director of the CIA. He's a man that I have tremendous trust and faith in. I think President Elect Trump chose him for a very special and specific reason. Those two men are men who will be able to work together. I think they'll be able to have trust that they need to work together and I think some of these miscommunications or saying things about the CIA that some of us say, 'I'm not sure I agree with that.' I think we're going to see less of that as time goes by."