tv This Week With George Stephanopoulos ABC December 18, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PST
together, we're building a better california. starting right now on "this week" with george stephanopoulos. red alert. >> the message will be directly received by the russians. >> president obama promising retaliation against russia. >> we need to take action and we will. >> the president-elect. >> they have no idea if it's russia or china. >> continuing to clash with the intelligence community. did the kremlin want trump in the white house? >> not much happens in russia without vladimir putin. >> after unprecedented foreign interference is the heart of our democracy under attack? this morning complete coverage. our exclusive with dnc chair donna brazile. how is the party working to recover after those devastating hacks? and the former cia director advising president-elect trump.
plus, we're live in moscow with putin's close allies. what's the kremlin's next move? full insights, analysis and more from our team around the globe. from abc news, it's "this week." here now coanchor martha raddatz. good morning. this week a nightmare for american democracy. the nation's intelligence agencies the white house claiming the worst. that russia not only hacked campaign 2016, but tried to influence the outcome of the election. and that the hacks were directed from the heart of the kremlin, the office of president vladimir putin himself. it is extraordinary to contemplate among the pressing questions this morning, does trump even believe russia was behind the hack? can the country unify? how will america respond? and with a little over a month from president-elect trump's inauguration, was his victory do in part to putin's audacious plot?
at president obama's final news conference of the year, he left no doubt that kremlin's fingerprints were all over election 2016. >> just to be clear, do you believe vladimir putin himself authorized the hack and do you believe he authorized that to help donald trump? >> we have said and i will confirm that this happened at the highest levels of the russian government. and i will let you make that determination as to whether there are high level russian officials go off rogue and decide to tamper with the u.s. election process without vladimir putin knowing about it. >> so let's get right to our reporters chief investigative correspondent brian ross and tom llamas outside trump tower. brian let me start with you. we have heard what the president said. how solid is the intelligence.
>> u.s. officials tell abc news the evidence is compelling and if anything getting stronger. the cybersecurity detectives who have analyzed the bugs or malware planted in the party computers say it transmitted the e-mails to an internet address the russians have used in other countries and the software was created in a russian time zone all on a keyboard with russian characters and on top of that, the cia has shared with other agencies highly classified new information gained from the kremlin itself that authorities say reveals the hands-on role of putin and his attempt to hurt hillary clinton. and help donald trump. >> i assume donald trump has been briefed. why doesn't he believe this? >> reporter: martha, that's a complicated question. i'm told by sources within the transition team that if the intelligence community feels that the president-elect should have that information about the russia hacking, they have the opportunity nearly every day to
provide it in the presidential daily briefing. has that happened, it's unclear. that's all classified material. i do know the president-elect is aware of the news reports of what president obama said. there is pushback from team trump. they said if the evidence is so defintive, so black and white why is a smoking gun not made public and why has there not been a linkage chart that has been leaked to the public so people can see the evidence and behind all of this, think all this reporting and time spent on this issue is an attempt to undermine their election victory which they say they rightly and legally won on election night. >> i want to go back to the hack and the response. the president said there will be a response. he said to send a clear message to russia or others not to do this to us because we can do stuff to you. what kind of stuff is he talking about? >> well, martha, there are a number of options but none seem
to fit the bill precisely. covert action could result in a cyber tit for tat that could escalate and be damaging to the u.s. than to russia. the fbi is investigating whether they could bring criminal charges against putin. or anyone else involved included any americans but for the russians that would be a symbolic gesture. also looking at exposing or freezing the secret bank accounts of putin and those around him and finally, there is the option of a new round of financial sanctions which the president could order in the final weeks of the obama administration. martha. >> tom, donald trump will be president in a little over a month. if there are sanctions he could immediately undo them. what do you think he will do in response? >> reporter: martha, i was just told this morning by a senior adviser the trump team is for sanctions that work clearly president-elect trump said he want as better relationship with russia and wants to be friendly. rex tillerson has spoken out and
this is when he was head of exxon mobile. so he had different interests. i'm told russia is a very high priority list for president-elect trump but not at the top. china is the most important for president-elect trump. martha. >> thanks very much tom and you brian. the trump white house will have those options on hand to respond but it's president obama who is under pressure for his administration's response to the russian hacks from both republicans and his own democratic party. he defended himself in that friday press conference arguing he had an obligation to not step out too far, afraid of appearing to tip the scales for the clinton campaign. >> in this hyper partisan atmosphere at a time when my primary concern was making sure that the integrity of the election process was not in any way damaged, i wanted to make sure everybody understood we were playing this thing straight. >> let's take that straight to
donna brazile, the chair of the democratic national committee which took the brunt of russia's cyber hacks. your party was hacked. some of your e-mails were included. do you buy the president's argument or do you think he let democrats down by not taking a stronger approach? >> well, first of all, i'm gratified that after seven months when it was confirmed by our cybersecurity experts as well as the fbi that everyone is now taking it seriously. this was a very intrusive process. the president's party was hacked, not the democratic party, the president. he is a democrat. his party was hacked. the e-mails were weaponized. the release of stolen hacked e-mails caused a lot of confusion and of course, it disrupted our daily campaign lives. >> so did he let democrats down by not taking a stronger approach as it was happening? >> i think the obama administration, fbi, the various other federal agencies, they
informed us. they told us what was happening. we knew as of may, but in terms of helping us to fight, we were fighting a foreign adversary in a cyber space. the democratic national committee. we were no match. and yet we fought constantly. that's why i think it's important that congress takes a very open approach to looking at what happened, how it evolved, what was russia's motives. >> you're sending a letter to congress. >> yes. the democratic party would like to see an opened independent bipartisan investigation. >> president obama also said friday that the cyberattacks stopped after he warned putin at a conference in september. you have been briefed of the party's computer system. is that right, they stopped? >> no, they did not stop. they came after us absolutely every day until the end of the election. they tried to hack into our
system repeatedly. we put up the very best cybersecurity, what i call infrastructure to stop them. but they constantly came after us. >> why would the president say that? >> look, i think the president is right to call for a full investigation. every federal agency involved should put everything on the table and the democratic party will put everything on the table. they came after us daily. hourly. there were times when we thought they would penetrate us and we would have another breach but we had a great -- >> you think the president didn't know they were continuing? you said they were continuing. >> when i saw the president i was a little disappointed that, you know, we were under constant attack. we never felt comfortable. we didn't know what was coming next. you know, this is not just about computers, this is harassment of individuals, harassment of our candidates of our donors. we had stolen personal information. people were personally harassed.
>> are you disappointed in the president's response? >> i'm disappointed that we went through this process. the country went through this process. >> but are you disappointed in his response? >> you know, martha, we were attacked by a foreign adversary and i think it's the responsibility of the government to help individual citizens as well as institutions, nonprofits corporations to help protect us. >> how do you think the fbi should have handled it? the new york times reported this week that the fbi reached out to the dnc starting in september 2015. >> reached out -- it's like going to best buy and you get the geek squad and they're great people by the way, they reached out to our it vendors but when they reached to us, meaning senior democratic officials, by then it was, you know, the russians had been involved for a long time. look, we had two sitting members of congress.
debbie wasserman schultz and tulsi gabbard. tulsi sits on the
armed services. they could have easily reached them. >> do you bear any responsibility because they weren't prepared or even have a chain of command going from as you say the geek squad up to more senior leadership. >> there's no question, i took full responsibility. i went to the democratic convention. i spent the entire month of july, august apologizing because of the leaked, stolen e-mails. i had no idea the extent of the cyber intrusion. i didn't grow up knowing about fancy bear and these other russian actors. once i found out we not only initiated a full investigation internally, we hired the foreman number three at the fbi. we instituted better cyber management within the party. we took appropriate steps not just to protect our infrastructure but to also warn others about what was happening to us in realtime and we also warned the republicans.
>> i want to turn to president-elect trump. in
his response to this latest hack reporting this week. president-elect trump tweeted, are we talking about the same cyberattack where it was revealed that the head of the dnc illegally gave hillary the questions to the debate? obviously, a reference to the charge that you give the clinton folks questions in advance of a cnn town hall. >> allegations from stolen hacked e-mails. as i have said repeatedly, cnn did not provide me with any questions nor by the way did you provide me with any questions this morning. again, when you think about how this information was used, my e-mails were not hacked by the way. i had a dnc address but my e-mails were not hacked. john podesta's e-mails were hacked, used, weaponized to show misinformation. and to show discard between the
clinton/sanders campaign. unfortunately it happened. but we should learn from this. this is why the president should tell us more before he leaves office. and also congress bears an enormous responsibility as well to inform the american people on just the involvement of the russian government in our election process. >> donna, given all you said about this hack, do you think donald trump's win was legitimate? >> you know, i was involved in a close election in 2000. and it was an election where we believe that every vote should count and every voter should matter. at the end of the day, the electors had an obligation to do their job and george bush won the election and al gore had the most electoral -- i mean the most popular votes. donald trump used this information in ways to also show division. i was very disappointed in his
repeated usage of some of the stolen information. he used it as if he received daily talking points but that's politics. it's behind us. what we should focus on is how do we protect our country from foreign intrusion. how do we protect and strengthen our democratic institutions. and how do we protect the lives -- >> was the election legit? >> it was tainted by this intrusion. >> would hillary clinton have won without it do you think? >> i'm not going to sugar-coat what happened on election day. the democratic party has a lot of things we have to do. donald trump cracked the blue wall. he cracked the blue wall. we had a blue wall. we should have maintained it, kept it. but there's no question that having a foreign adversary, a foe interfere and to use hacked stolen e-mails and weaponize them against the democrats, not the republicans, not trump, but against hillary clinton and the democratic party, the president's party, we should be
outraged by it. i know i'm still outraged by it but i want to make sure this never happens again. this country deserves to have the kind of cybersecurity experts involved to make sure that our homeland is protected. at every stage. >> thanks very much donna. >> thank you ma'am. >> now despite the public statements from president obama and the intelligence community, president-elect trump is still refusing to publicly accept that the russians are responsible for the hack. for more on that we turn to a trump senior adviser the former cia director. good morning. >> good morning. >> i want to ask you right away. why hasn't president-elect trump acknowledged that the russians are behind it? >> well, there's a strong chance the russians are behind it. i don't know the technical side of who analyzed it and made the final determinations. but the russians are doing things all the time in related areas. they have a program of disinformation which means lying
and they doctor photos of people and put them in publications and have thousands of people who do this. russian deception is pretty much constant in international communications. newspapers. >> wouldn't our intelligence officers, our intelligence professionals know exactly what you're saying, there's disinformation and they would plan for that? >> maybe. sometimes they don't pay as much attention to open sourced stuff as i would like to see. but one would think that that would certainly be a place to start whether that's the proper conclusion. i don't know. >> donald trump says it could be china or someone. is that possible? >> the chinese are good and one of the things you do in cyber is try to look like somebody else. to have your hacking look like somebody else's hacking. but it looks like there's a building consensus on this.
>> given what you have heard and that all 17 intelligence agencies agree and the president said this, do you believe it was a russian hack? >> 17 agencies that includes the national recognizance. that has nothing to do with this. >> but do you believe that it was a russian? >> this is nsa decision. i think more than anything else. if nsa is confident it's the russians then it almost certainly is. depends on them. >> cia director michael hayden says trump is antagonizing the intelligence community and that's a problem. is it a problem if he doesn't agree with the intelligence when he takes office? >> i think that is really the wrong stance to take. the intelligence community works for the president, not the other way around. they don't -- he doesn't report to them. that's really i think a rather backwards statement from the intelligence agency.
i think that it's important to realize also that your response to these things often does not need to be and should not be in the same box that you were attacked in. just because cyber is what came at us probably from russians doesn't mean we go back with cyberattacks or deterrents. for example, you could take steps to lower the price of oil by letting substitutes in for driving cars. methanol with an m instead of just gasoline. that will dry the price of oil and gasoline down rather substantially. you can't think of anything that's going to a, be more of a problem for russia and b, be more helpful to american consumers and industry. why not do that instead of getting all bogged down on exactly who hacked whom when? >> i want to very quickly if we can on the drone that the
chinese took and apparently now returning. a day after donald trump tweeted his displeasure, jason miller from the trump team saying donald trump gets it done. china says it will return u.s. drone it seized and they'll say they'll return the drone and donald trump tweets keep the drone. what's going on there? >> i don't know. i can't keep up with tweets. i don't do the social media myself. who knows. >> you better start reading those donald trump tweets then. thank you very much for joining us. up next, what is vladimir putin trying to achieve with this historic hack? we'll go live to moscow. and the american diplomat whose job it is to get inside putin's head. plus, how can america respond as donald trump prepares to takeoffs? what tools does he have to counter russia? two top congressmen on the house intelligence committee debate our options. back in just two minutes. >> "this week" with george stephanopoulos brought to you by
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that's why there's biotene. biotene can provide soothing dry mouth relief. and it keeps your mouth refreshed too. remember while your medication is doing you good, a dry mouth isn't. biotene, for people who suffer from dry mouth symptoms. i welcome president putin's interest in building russia that enjoys the state of democracy. >> i looked the man in the eye and found him to be straightforward and trust worthy. i was able to get a sense of his soul. >> mr. putin and i have strong disagreements on all range of issues but i can talk to him. we have worked together on important issues. >> russian leader vladimir putin has eluded american presidents for nearly two decades now.
each of those three men sought to work with him only to be rebuffed, outfoxed, stone walled and misled by the former kgba agent. will donald trump be different and what is it that vladimir putin wants? we'll talk to the american diplomat tasked with figuring that out. but first abc news chief foreign correspondent terry moran is on the ground with a view from moscow. good morning terry. >> reporter: good morning. donald trump's victory came as much of a surprise here in moscow as it did in the united states but no question that people here are generally very happy about. this week vladimir putin showed off his dog to journalists. a loud but obedient. akita. the question some are asking, has putin put a poodle in the white house? >> i think it's ridiculous, just another excuse. i don't believe it.
>> russians don't believe it either. around moscow and across this vast country russians are watching with amazement and some in the kremlin with delight over the freakout over moscow's role in the u.s. presidential election. president obama this week implicating vladimir putin in the hack of the e-mails. and dnc. >> not much happened without vladimir putin. >> president obama said it's clear russia hacked. >> the only explanation of the results which was organized from him and lady clinton. >> deputy chairman of the russian senate's foreign affairs committee and close to the kremlin. >> you reject it? >> absolutely. it's american fairytales and fiction. very convenient explanation because in such kind of perceptions russia is a threat. kremlin is evil, all bad boys they are in kremlin and their
main task is to make some bad things for america. >> russian media which is dominated by putin's regime and spews propaganda offered a different explanation. it was an inside job, a leak from clinton's own staff or the dnc itself and there's a sneering, mocking tone in much of the coverage here. >> there you go. that's how you prove it was the russians. >> many russians are skeptical of the state media here but even seasoned independent analysts think this scandal is more american hysteria than actual fact. >> so wild allegations. of course we don't believe them. what happened is an american problem. we in russia did not invent donald trump for you. >> one thing is very clear here, hillary clinton was seen by the kremlin and by much of the public at large as a dire threat to russia because of her hawkish foreign policy and support for anti-putin protests in 2011. >> people believe that he as
president probably means a nuclear war with the united states. >> still like most in the u.s. thought clinton would win. another argument for why russia wouldn't have hacked. >> russia had nothing to do with it. >> for what purpose? we have no reasons. >> to get back at hillary clinton. >> no. no. no. c'mon. >> to cause turmoil in america. >> we know well madam clinton. we hadn't any real possibilities to think about trump like a winner. >> now that donald trump is the president-elect there's a surprising sense of caution coming out of the kremlin. there may be a case of be careful what you wish for because here in russia as in the united states and around the world, a president trump is very much a wild card. martha. >> that's true terry but it almost seems like the russians are trying to wait out the obama
presidency but president obama has promised to retaliate against that hack. aren't they concerned? >> you know you don't get the sense that the russians are very worried about president obama. there's a sense here that he is a pie in the sky idealist. somebody said he has too many beautiful ideas in his head. they saw him pull back in syria and they didn't get a strong response according to u.s. intelligence agencies from their initial probes into the dnc. they aren't that worried about an obama response it seems. >> what if there is a counter attack, counter cyberattack, how do you think they would respond? >> reporter: well, if it's the kind of cyberattack that would turn out the lights or affect ordinary russians since ordinary russians don't believe their government was involved there was be fury here. a great discontent. i think president putin is a cautious and savvy player. if the response is proportional he would probably find some way
of ignoring it. >> and thanks terry. let's put all of that to the american diplomat whose job is to study vladimir putin for america and its allies. doug lu. the u.s. ambassador to nato joins us. part of your job is indeed to study vladimir putin. what is he up to and trying to accomplish? >> well, clearly things have changed over the last couple years. most recently the news is all about cyberattacks but over the last couple years since the illegal annexation of crimea, a sovereign piece of a neighboring country, ukraine, russia has really in many ways torn up the rule book that has guided the international system since at least world war ii dating back to the u.n. charter. russia has become more a source of instability and uncertainty,
unpredictability for the nato alliance than it has over the last 20 years where we honestly tried to have a meaningful partnership with nato. >> you're meeting with the russian representative to nato monday. it's the first meeting since before the dnc hack in july. will you bring up cyber? >> cyber is not an immediate agenda item for tomorrow's meeting. i imagine that more than one ally however will bring up with our russian counterpart this pattern of influence that is seen not only in the united states by way of this dnc hacking experience, but across other democracies in the alliance. these are activities which include cyber in other allied capitols but funding of political parties. misinformation campaigns and promoting civil unrest. a larger pattern that the alliance is aware of which is a good topic for our discussion with our russian colleague.
>> i was in estonia earlier this year. i flew in a fighter jet with a young american pilot supporting nato exercises along the russian border. given what you just said and given what putin did in crimea, do you think he is contemplating doing the same in estonia? >> i don't believe anyone in russia today intends to attack nato. that doesn't mean that we don't have a responsibility to reassure allies like estonia who are frontline allies, that is they have a land border with russia or allies who are potentially susceptible to cyberattack or misinformation campaigns. >> what makes you nervous about russia and what russia might do next. >> i worry about attempts by russia such as the examples i've cited, cyberattacks, attempts to influence political campaigns,
flooding allied capitals, the news media with misinformation or disinformation and all with an attempt to fragment internally our societies, perhaps, distort our political processes and to show discontent and a lack of cohesion across the allies. so that's really the challenge here. >> thanks very much for joining us this morning ambassador lu. up next, some americans still doubt that the russians are behind the hack. first among them, the president-elect. so what is the intel community's evidence? how can we know for sure? i'll talk to two top congressmen on the house intelligence committee next. this is my body of proof. proof of less joint pain. and clearer skin. this is my body of proof that i can fight psoriatic arthritis
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we'll be right back with two congressional leaders on how the u.s. should respond to those unprecedented hacks. >> "this week" with george stephanopoulos brought to you by charles schwab. ulos brought to you by charles schwab. those new glasses? they are. do i look smarter? yeah, a little. you're making money now, are you investing? well, i've been doing some research. let me introduce you to our broker. how much does he charge? i don't know. okay. uh, do you get your fees back if you're not happy? (dad laughs) wow, you're laughing. that's not the way the world works. well, the world's changing. are you asking enough questions about the way your wealth is managed? wealth management, at charles schwab.
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we all understand that russia was behind this. there's nobody on our committee who has been briefed that thinks the chinese were involved. or some 400 pound person. no, this was a state actor and that state actor was russia. >> we don't know the russians are involved and not certain where that came from. >> let's bring in those two
congressmen both sitting on the house elect intelligence committee. the ranking democratic member adam schiff of california and republican peter king of new york. i want to get to the role in investigating and responding to the hacks in a moment. first congressman king, we heard you questioning whether russia was behind the hack of clinical pain chair john podesta. why don't you buy the consensus of the intelligence community on that? >> we haven't been shown that consensus. we were told it was definite that the russians did hack the democratic national committee. i'm willing to accept that. as far as john podesta, it was uncertain whether or not that could be traced to the russians. i haven't seen anything since then. that's what infuriates me, martha is that we have john brennan leaking to the washington post to a biased newspaper like the new york times, findings and conclusion that is he's not telling the intelligence committee.
i mean, the meeting last week, invited all the intelligence committee in. they refused to come. i find it shameful. it seems like to me, there should be an investigation with what the russians did but also of john brennan and the hit job he seems to be orchestrating against the president-elect. >> you think this is all political by john brennan? >> i think certainly when he comes out and leaks to the newspapers that the entire intelligence community has concluded that the russians were targeting hillary clinton and favoring donald trump when we have never been told that before, certainly director comey didn't tell us that or haven't heard that from the director, if that's such a dramatic conclusion, what he should have done is gone before the entire intelligence committee, briefed us on it. if that's the case, i'll accept it. i'm not saying it didn't happen. i'm just saying we have been given no evidence on it when you have the stories mysteriously appearing in the newspaper when we have been told the opposite or nothing at all
on it and then suddenly it appears right before the electoral college is meeting i find it shameful. i think putin is evil. i think the russians are guilty of incredibly evil hacking around the world. constantly trying to hack the united states. i'm no defending russia. i'm saying this final conclusion about what he's saying about trump and clinton, if they have evidence show it. they have not shown it yet. comey said it is not the case. >> we don't know whether john brennan is the one that leaked the information. congressman schiff you have seen more intelligence. if congressman king and others had seen it, do you think they would be convinced? >> look, i discussed this recently. i think he has done a remarkable job at the agency and don't think he's trying to politicize this. i do think there's a consensus among the top leadership, not only of who is responsible but why. i think when the review is released by the administration
within the next two or three weeks, i think the american people will see that. but let's look at what's undisputed. >> why not give some of this -- i totally understand you don't want to have sources and methods out there. but can't you give the public something more substantial? than what we have seen? >> yes. i think the administration will and i think they should. i have been urging them to do that. but the principle reason they haven't is we have good sources of information that we don't want to disclose. i'm sure the russians would love to know the source of information so they can take counter measures to prevent us from being able to attribute other russian activity in the future. the administration shouldn't dispose that. ultimately this is why i think what the president-elect is doing is so damaging. by attacking the intelligence community basically it's going to make it that much more difficult for the current president to make attribution for the american people to understand what they really need to about russian involvement in our elections. this was unprecedented.
and for the president-elect to continue to give the russian's deniability is deeply damaging to the country. >> former krchl ia director michael hayden says trump is siding with the enemy by being publicly critical of the intelligence community. should president-elect trump be so openly questioning the intelligence community? >> i think 99% of the intelligence community does an outstanding job. what i'm talking about specifically is the events of the last ten days which i find unprecedented. i know adam says he spoke to director brennan. i have a great regard for adam. this is nothing between me and adam. i spoke to the chairman yesterday who spoke to director brennan and the information he got has not changed his opinion at all. i'm just saying brief the entire committee. you don't have to tell the american public or the russians now all the evidence we have but the house intelligence committee and the senate intelligence committee, they're the ones who have the legal responsibility to
oversee the cia and cia has the obligation to deal with that committee. that's their legal obligation. not to be giving it to the washington post or new york times. he should be carrying out a full scale investigation to find out who in the intelligence community is talking to the media on this issue when they're not talking to the elected representatives. >> congressman i want to go back to the question, do you believe president-elect trump is inflicting some sort of damage, long term damage with the intelligence community because of the things he said or is that a very legitimate point, he doesn't know it all? >> i think he's doing enormous damage not only to the intelligence community but to himself and to his ability to lead the country when he becomes president. we're going to have a national security crisis at some point. it may be very early from the administration or later. but it's going to come and he's going to need to rely on the intelligence committee and need to come before the american people and say i'm taking this action based on our intelligence that this is what the north
koreans are doing or the iranians or the russians or the chinese. if he can't be believed because he's sending out false tweets or persuaded the american people not to believe what our own intelligence agencies or giving the russians such deniability that they can say are these the same agencies the president-elect told us not to believe he is damaging himself and our national security. i would love to see our president to act now to impose sanctions. i'm not confident president-elect will. i'm not confident we have established enough of a deterrent and the russians will be back at this. this may have benefitted donald trump and indeed it certainly did during the campaign. when he becomes the target of russian hacking he will take a different view. what he's doing right now is so damaging not only to himself but to the country. >> congressman king i'll let you respond. >> donald trump will do the right thing and as far as
confidence between the cia and president, i don't think director brennan or the top leadership of the cia is doing much when they're not willing to back up the stories with the intelligence committees that have the responsibility for it. it just seems like a hit job. >> there's so much common agreement on the very basic facts of the russian hacking in our election. that ought to be enough to bring us together to enact sanctions and to work together in a very bipartisan basis to investigate this in a joint house senate intelligence investigation or independent commission. this rises to that significance. >> you agree with that congressman king, a joint house senate? >> i'm sorry. yeah. i agree there should be an investigation. i think the intelligence committees are the ones best equipped to do it in the house and senate. if it's joint that's fine. creating a new committee takes so long to get everything together. right now both the house and senate committees have
everything in the place to carry out an investigation and it should be done. i agree with adam. i think concerted action is necessary. we should take it and support the president whether it's president obama between now and january 20th or president trump after january 20th. >> up next, a country unable to agree on even the truth itself. can anything heal the partisan divide and bring america together? the round table is up next in 30 seconds. ng america together? the round table is up next in 30 seconds.
for too long, everything that happens in this town, everything that's said is seen through the lens of does this help or hurt us and unless that changes, we're going to continue to be vulnerable to foreign influence because we have lost track of what it is that we're about and what we stand for. >> president obama speaking at his last press conference of the year on friday. the former senator who campaigned on bridging the partisan divide now arguing that our collective response to this russian hack shows that the divide is worse than ever. let's bring in the powerhouse round table. abc news contributor kristen soltesz anderson. abc news contributor elsie granderson. bloomberg white house reporter jennifer jacobs and abc news
cokie roberts. good morning to all of you. >> good morning. >> good morning. >> quite a morning. >> yes. >> cokie i want to start with you. there is no question the country is divided. but does the president take it too far? >> no. i don't think so. we have never seen division like this except in the period before the civil war and then we had war. and the fact is to have republicans defending russians is one of the more remarkable things that's happened in my lifetime. i have spent most of my life in the cold war period with republicans vilifying democrats for not being hard core enough against the russians and to suddenly have them say, oh, no problem, the russians interfering in our elections is something remarkable to witness. >> the president talked about how this happened beyond the usual partisan divide. how do you see it? >> we have heard a lot of things that can destroy the country. gay marriage can destroy the country. abortion. disco. hip hop.
>> disco almost did. >> disco almost did. the one thing that will destroy the country is partisanship over patriotism. one of the frustrating things is the fact that there's seems to be what used to be a common enemy and now that enemy is no longer there and why that entity is no longer there is because people are choosing parties over the country. that's extremely disappointing. that's how i see it. >> jennifer, donald trump has been fairly quiet on this. why is that? what are you hearing at trump tower? >> i think they really truly believe anything about these russian hacks delegitimatizes his presidency. they have said that over and over again until after monday when the electoral college voted they'll keep denying it. donald trump is aware of the problems with cybersecurity. remember in gettysburg in the speech about the contract to america, his hundred day plan, he talked about how one of his priorities was beefing up
security and helping protect our cyber infrastructure. he's very much aware of this problem. >> is there a way to talk about it as a russian hack. but not so much that it changed the election? >> that's exactly right. >> kristen, where do you think trump supporters stand on this? do they care? are they paying attention? >> i think for a lot of supporters they're viewing this through that partisan lens. viewing this as congressman king said, sort of a hit job on the president-elect. but doesn't necessarily mean that republicans love vladimir putin or russia. we have seen debates over vladimir putin, russia wikileaks fall into partisan camps where you have seen wikileaks have an increase in support from republicans and decrease in support from democrats. at the same time a majority of republicans still have an unfavorable view of vladimir putin and still feel that russia is more of an adversary than an
ally and they believe trump views russia as more of an ally than an adversary. republicans know trump may not be on the same page and this is one of the debates that will be fascinating to watch play out in confirmation hearings. in the first 100 days. these areas where donald trump may hold a view perhaps rooted again in this view of well this is about the legitimacy of my election not about him loving vladimir putin in any way. there are some areas where donald trump holds views that are not where a majority of republicans are. it will be interesting to see how that debate resolves itself. >> we have spent billions and billions and billions of dollars in this country and in shoring up our defenses against the russians and we have got missiles aimed at them and all of that. >> missiles would not have stopped this. they definitely would not have stopped this. >> this has been our enemy sense world war ii and here we are sort of -- >> it also shows how vulnerable we are as a country to cyberattacks.
one of people you're hearing from is hillary clinton talking to donors about the election that the russians carried this out because they held a grudge against her. can she kind of get that sore loser thing label? >> absolutely. >> at the end of the day, the e-mails whether they were hacked or not said what they said. and it's sort of what a lot of bernie supporters felt. one of the things she should have done was go out to the people supporting johnson. maybe if she had gotten johnson's voters she would have kept up the blue wall. it was about her messaging and self inflicted wounds and about the sort of voter suppression that happened because of the hacking. >> cokie, it seems that people are still holding out hope that the electoral college when they vote tomorrow will somehow miraculously decide hillary clinton is the winner. >> that's not going to happen. >> no, that's not going to happen. even in the christmas season these things don't happen.
the electoral college every four years, there's somebody who make a challenge and it never goes anywhere. i think -- of course tomorrow we won't know the votes. they just go to the state capitals. it happens on the first monday after the second wednesday of december. who thought that up? >> who could even remember that? good job, cokie. >> i looked it up. but then the votes are of course counted in the senate in january, presided over by the vice president and we often had in our history the vice president stand up and declare the winner against himself. >> jennifer, this week trump was supposed to address his conflicts of interest, instead, he sent a tweet blasting the media for complicating the issue. does the public care about conflict of interest? >> yes. you know, people are starting to get suspicious of everything trump is doing at this point. there was chatter that ivanka.
was angling for the space in the white house that has currently been occupied by the first lady. i've been told by two people that's not true. but people are starting to believe everything they hear about the trumps. one good sign is how they did cancel that auction for the coffee with ivanka. that's an annual thing eric trump does for charity work. they're starting to listen to their lawyers. they cancelled that coffee because people were trying to use that coffee to gain access through ivanka to her father. they're listening to their lawyers. that's a good sign. >> i want to end on this. about what we have learned. donald trump called out some of his supporters in florida for what he said were violent. he said now you're laid back, you're cool, mellow, basking in the glory of victory. and we're already getting to work. was that trump's attempt at turning down the heat? do you expect to see after what we have seen this week from
donald trump someone different when he takes office? >> we have had a lot of times in this election where he said is this the moment donald trump is making his -- >> i probably said that 100 times. >> i feel like i'm not going to say this is a big pivot from him but i think in the heat of an election we fall into the partisan camps and things get heated. there is a chance with the new administration he will have an opportunity that perhaps no other candidate on either party could have had to come in and be sort of untethered by ideology, unhandcuffed by the traditional baggage and say house republicans i would like you to pass a trillion dollar infrastructure bill. things republicans wouldn't have the audacity to try. it may be an interesting 100 y da days. >> so what have we learned? >> he is tethered by one of the biggest people who have lease in his trump towers. the chinese banks. how are you going to be tough on china when you are depending upon them to renew their lease.
during your presidency. he owes hundreds of millions dollars to the deutsche bank. they happen to be under the investigation. you have to point to the attorney general. what have we learned? we have learned that donald trump is going to be donald trump. i wish i was optimistic as you are. >> i'm looking -- >> let's leave on an optimistic note to all of you. >> the people who go -- >> ten seconds. >> say they have reasonable conversations with him and he asks thoughtful questions. he needs to tone down his supporters. that's what he needs to do. >> i think that's what he was trying to do at the rally. thanks to all of you. merry christmas. >> merry christmas. >> we'll be right back after this from our abc stations.
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