Donald Trump's top aides on Sunday said the president-elect isn't ready to accept the finding by intelligence officials that Moscow hacked Democratic emails in a bid to elevate Trump. Even if it's true, they said, Trump still won the White House fair and square.
The pushback came a day before members of the Electoral College are scheduled to formally cast votes for Trump as the 45th president. While Democrats likely are powerless to stop it, they suggested Trump's victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton would forever be tainted by Russian meddling.
Republican electors have been inundated by Trump opponents urging them to defy the results in their states and vote against Trump.
"This whole thing is a spin job," said Trump's incoming chief of staff, Reince Priebus. "And I think what the Democrats ought to do is look in the mirror and face the reality that they lost the election."
Trump himself weighed in Sunday evening, tweeting, "If my many supporters acted and threatened people like those who lost the election are doing, they would be scorned & called terrible names!"
The partisan swipes mostly ignored warnings by foreign policy experts that part of Russia's calculation also was likely payback for years of U.S. criticism of its own elections and a desire to portray America as a flawed champion of democracy — potentially weakening U.S. power on the world stage. Russia has vehemently denied the accusation.
Many lawmakers, including some leading Republicans, say voters may not have been swayed by the release of tens of thousands of private emails. But the fact that a foreign power tried to intervene in U.S. democracy and exploit divisions in American politics is cause for alarm, they say.