President Donald Trump said Thursday he was “not surprised” that Russian intelligence had obtained and shared information about his campaign during the 2016 presidential race, but added the “world’s greatest superpower has no right” to interfere in the United States’ electoral process.
“It’s a world-class country,” Trump said during a news conference in the Oval Office.
“They can hack any country.
They can hack us.
And they can hack our elections.”
Trump said he would not be deterred by Russian hacking allegations, and added that he had “no doubt” Russia was behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee, which he said “inflicted havoc on our political process.”
Trump called the allegations “a total, total witch hunt.”
“Russia has no respect for our democratic process,” he said.
“There’s no respect.
It’s a total witch-hunt.”
He also said Russia had been “playing around” with American elections and was trying to “influence” elections in other countries.
“You’ve seen this with Germany, you’ve seen it with other countries,” he added.
“Russia is trying to get into the election process in the U.S. They’re doing all sorts of things.”
Trump has previously denied Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
“I have absolutely no doubt about it,” Trump told reporters after he spoke at a news briefing Thursday morning.
“We are going to win this election.
We will win this by the vast majority of the people.”
He later reiterated his denial.
“What is happening is a total scam.
It is a complete sham,” Trump added.
During the news conference, Trump again insisted he would never be determed by Russian meddling.
“No one is going to get in my way of winning this election,” Trump continued.
“My path is clear.
We’re going to beat the hell out of this thing.
We have to.”
Trump’s comments came just days after the Justice Department announced it would open an investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 U.N. General Assembly vote.
The probe is examining whether the Russian government coordinated with the Trump team to undermine the outcome of the vote, which was largely viewed as a repudiation of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s leadership.
Trump has also faced renewed scrutiny over allegations of sexual misconduct and assault.
On Thursday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the Justice for All Coalition, a coalition of victims of sexual harassment, assault and harassment, would investigate whether Trump had violated federal sexual misconduct laws by attempting to prevent a former contestant from testifying in a civil lawsuit.
The coalition will be joined by representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Women’s Law Center.