Donald Trump with wife Melania at a New Year’s Eve party at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday. (AP)
West Palm Beach, Florida, Jan. 1: President-elect Donald J. Trump, expressing lingering scepticism about intelligence assessments of Russian interference in the election, has said he knew "things that other people don't know" about the hacking, and that the information would be revealed "on Tuesday or Wednesday".
Speaking to a handful of reporters outside his Palm Beach, club, Mar-a-Lago, Trump cast his declarations of doubt as an effort to seek the truth.
"I just want them to be sure because it's a pretty serious charge," Trump said of the intelligence agencies. "If you look at the weapons of mass destruction, that was a disaster, and they were wrong," he added, referring to intelligence cited by the George W. Bush administration to support its march to war in 2003. "So I want them to be sure," the President-elect said. "I think it's unfair if they don't know."
He added: "And I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don't know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation."
Asked what he knew that others did not, Trump demurred, saying "You'll find out on Tuesday or Wednesday."
Trump, who does not use email, also advised people to avoid computers when dealing with delicate material. "It's very important, if you have something really important, write it out and have it delivered by courier, the old-fashioned way, because I'll tell you what, no computer is safe," Trump said.
"I don't care what they say, no computer is safe," he added. "I have a boy who's 10 years old; he can do anything with a computer. You want something to really go without detection, write it out and have it sent by courier."
The comments on Saturday were a departure from a statement that Trump issued through transition officials last week, in which he said that it was time for people to "move on" from the hacking issue but that he would be briefed on the matter by intelligence officials early in the new year.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama ordered a set of retaliatory measures against Russia over the election hacking. The US expelled 35 Russian diplomats and shuttered two estates that it claimed had been used for intelligence-gathering.
The Russian President, Vladimir V. Putin, declined to respond in kind to the measures, a gesture that Trump appeared to view favourably. He praised it on Twitter and criticised news media coverage that had been harsh about Russia.
Trump, who has sought a warmer relationship with Putin, has repeatedly scoffed at the notion that Russia was behind the hacking, a stance at odds with members of his own party. At one point, Trump declared that the hacking may have been the work of "someone sitting on their bed weighing 400 pounds".
New York Times News Service