'This Week' Transcript 12-18-16: Donna Brazile

PHOTO: Donna Brazile speaks during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, July 26, 2016. PlayVictor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WATCH DNC Chair Contradicts Obama: Russian Hackers Came After Us 'Until End of Election'

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT FOR 'THIS WEEK' on December 18, 2016 and it will be updated.

ANNOUNCER: Starting right now on THIS WEEK WITH MARTHA RADDATZ, red alert...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The message will be directly received by the Russians.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: President Obama promising retaliation against Russia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We need to take action and we will.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: The president-elect...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: They have no idea if it's Russia or China.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: (INAUDIBLE) to clash with the intelligence community.

Did the Kremlin want Trump in the White House?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: 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, co-anchor Martha Raddatz.

MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC HOST: 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 due, in part, to Putin's audacious plot?

At President Obama's final news conference of the year, he left no doubt the Kremlin's fingerprints were all over Election 2016.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RADDATZ: Just to be clear, do you believe Vladimir Putin himself authorized the hack and do you believe he authorized that to help Donald Trump?

OBAMA: 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 who go off rogue and decide to tamper with the U.S. election process without Vladimir Putin knowing about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RADDATZ: So let's get right to our reporters.

Chief investigative correspondent, Brian Ross, and Tom Llamas, outside Trump Tower -- and, Brian, let me start with you.

We've heard what the president said.

How solid is the intelligence?

BRIAN ROSS, ABC CORRESPONDENT: Well, Martha, U.S. officials tell ABC News the evidence is compelling, and if anything, getting stronger. The cyber security detectives who have analyzed the bugs or the malware planted in the Democratic Party computers say it transmitted the stolen emails to an Internet address the Russians had used in earlier hacks of other countries and that the software was actually created in a Russian time zone with gaps during Russian holidays, all on a keyboard with Russian Cyrillic characters.

And on top of that, Martha, the CIA has now shared with other agencies highly classified new information gained from the Kremlin itself that authorities say reveals the hands-on role of Vladimir Putin and his intent to hurt Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump -- Martha.

RADDATZ: And Tom Llamas, I would assume that Donald Trump has been briefed.

Why doesn't he believe this?

TOM LLAMAS, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: 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 Russian hacking, they have the opportunity nearly every day to provide it in the presidential daily briefing.

Now has that happened?

It's unclear, because that's all classified material.

I do know the president-elect is fully aware of the news reports, of what President Obama said.

But there is a some push back from Team Trump because they say that the evidence is so definitive, if it's so black and white, why has a public -- why has a smoking gun not been made public?

Why has there not been a linkage chart that has been linked to the public so people could actually see that evidence.

And also, behind all of this, they think all of this reporting and all of this time spent on this issue is also an attempt to undermine their election victory, which they say they rightly and legally won in election night -- Martha.

RADDATZ: And Brian, 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?

ROSS: 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 would be more damaging to the U.S. than to Russia.

The FBI is investigating whether it could bring criminal charges against Putin or anyone else involved, including any Americans. But for the Russians, that would be little more than a symbolic gesture.

Officials are also looking at exposing or somehow 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.

RADDATZ: And, Tom, Donald Trump will be president in a little over a month. If there are sanctions, he could immediately undo them. what -- what do you think he will do in response?

LLAMAS: Martha, I was just told this morning by a senior adviser that that Trump team is for sanctions that work. Now, clearly, President-elect Trump has said throughout the campaign he wants a better relationship with Russia. He wants to be -- Russia to be, quote, "friendly."

And Rex Tillerson has spoken out against sanctions. Again, this was when he was head of ExxonMobil, so he had different interests.

I'm told that Russia is on a very high priority list for President-elect Trump, but it's not at the top. Right now, China is the most important foreign policy assignment for President-elect Trump -- Martha.

RADDATZ: Thanks very much, Tom.

Thanks very much to 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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: 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 that everybody understood we were playing this thing straight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RADDATZ: Let's take that straight to Donna Brazile, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, which took the brunt of Russia’s cyber hacks.

Donna, your party was hacked, some of your e-mails were included in that.

Do you buy the president’s argument or do you think he let Democrats down by not taking a stronger approach?

DONNA BRAZILE, INTERIM CHAIR, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, first of all, I’m gratified that after seven months, when it was confirmed by our side with security 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.

RADDATZ: So did he let Democrats down by not taking a stronger approach as it was happening?

BRAZILE: I think the Obama administration, the 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 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.

RADDATZ: You’re sending a letter to Congress?

BRAZILE: Yes. The Democratic Party would like to see an open, independent, bipartisan investigation.

RADDATZ: President Obama also said Friday that the cyber attacks stopped after he warned Putin at an international conference in September. You’ve been briefed on the party’s computer system.

Is that right, they stopped?

BRAZILE: No, they did not stop. They -- 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 cyber security -- what I call infrastructure -- to stop them, but they constantly -- they came after us.

RADDATZ: So why do you think the president would say that?

BRAZILE: Look, I think the president is right to call for a full investigation. Every federal agency involved should be -- should put everything on the table, and the Democratic Party will put everything on the table. They came after us daily, hourly. And there were times when we thought they would penetrate us and we would have another breach. But we had a great...

RADDATZ: Do you think the president didn’t know they were continuing?

You said they were continuing.

BRAZILE: No, 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. And, you know, this is not just about computers. This is harassment of individuals, it’s harassment of our candidates, harassment of our donors. We had stolen information, personal information. People were personally harassed.

RADDATZ: So are you disappointed in the president’s response?

BRAZILE: I am disappointed that we went through this process. The country went through this process...

RADDATZ: But are you disappointed in his response?

BRAZILE: You know, Martha, I don't -- this was -- 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 protect us, to help protect...

RADDATZ: So how do know think the FBI should have handled it?

The New York Times reported this week that the FBI reached out to the DNC starting September 2015.

BRAZILE: They 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 us, meaning senior Democratic officials, by then it was, you know, the Russians had been involved for a long time.

Look, we are had two sitting members of congress -- Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Tulsi Gabbard, they are sitting members of congress. Tulsi sits on the armed services. They could have easily have reached them.

RADDATZ: Well, do you bear any responsibility, does the Democratic National Committee bear any responsibility because they weren't prepared for something like this, or even have a chain of command going from, as you say, the Geek Squad up to more senior leadership.

BRAZILE: There's no question. I took full responsibility, Martha. I went to the Democratic convention. I spent the entire month of July, August apologizing because of the leaked, stolen emails. I had no idea the extent of the cyber intrusion.

No one -- I didn't grow up knowing about Fancy Bear and these other Russian actors. But once I found out, we not only initiated a full and thorough investigation internally, we hired Crowdstrike, the former number three at the FBI. We instituted better cyber management within the party. So we took appropriate steps, not just to protect our infrastructure but to also warn others about what was happening to us in real time. And we also warned the Republicans.

RADDATZ: 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 cyber attack 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 gave the Clinton folks questions in advance of a CNN town hall, and a CNN debate.

BRAZILE: Allegations from stolen hacked emails. And as I have said repeatedly, CNN did not provide me with any questions, nor by the way did you provide me with any questions showing up this morning. But, again, when you think how this information was used, how the stolen hacked emails -- my emails were not hacked, by the way. I had a DNC address but my emails were not hacked. John Podesta’s emails were hacked. They were used. They were weaponized for -- to sow misinformation and to sow discord between the Clinton and 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 then Congress bears an enormous responsibility as well to inform the American people on this -- the involvement of the Russian government in our election process.

RADDATZ: And Donna, given that all you’ve -- all you’ve said about this hack, do you think Donald Trump’s win was legitimate?

BRAZILE: You know, I was involved a close election in 2000. And it was an election where we believed 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 vote.

Donald Trump used this information in ways to also sow division. I was very disappointed in his repeated usage 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 now 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 of...

RADDATZ: So, was the election legit?

BRAZILE: The election is -- was tainted by this intrusion, but...

RADDATZ: Would Hillary Clinton have own without it? Do you think?

BRAZILE: You know, I’m not going to sugarcoat what happened on Election Day. We, the Democratic Party has a lot of things that we have to do. Donald Trump cracked the blue wall, OK? He cracked the blue wall. We had a blue wall. We should’ve maintained it. We should’ve kept it. There’s no question that having a foreign adversary, a foe, interfere and to use hacked stolen emails 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 that this never happens again, because this country deserves to have the kind of cyber security experts involved to make sure that our homeland is protected at every stage.

RADDATZ: Thanks very much, Donna.

BRAZILE: Thank you, ma’am.

RADDATZ: And 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, James Woolsey. Good morning, Director Woolsey.

JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: Good morning.

RADDATZ: I want to ask you right away, why hasn’t President-Elect Trump acknowledged that the Russians are behind it?

WOOLSEY: Well, there’s a strong chance the Russians are behind it. I don’t know the technical side of who analyzed and made the final determinations. But the Russians are doing things all the time in related areas. They have a program they call disinformation, dezinformatsiya, which essentially means lying. And they doctor photos of people and put them in publications. They have thousands of people who do this. So Russian deception is pretty much constant in international communications and newspapers and...

RADDATZ: But wouldn’t our intelligence officers, our intelligence professionals, know exactly what you’re saying?

WOOLSEY: Yes, but...

RADDATZ: There’s disinformation and they would plan for that.

WOOLSEY: Maybe. Sometimes they don’t pay as much attention to open source stuff as I would like to see.

But one would think that would certainly be a place to start, whether that’s the exact proper conclusion, I don’t know.

RADDATZ: Donald Trump keeps saying it could be China or someone in bed. Is that possible?

WOOLSEY: Well, the Chinese are good. And one of the things you do in cyber is try to look like somebody else. So to have your hacking look like somebody else’s hacking.

But there’s -- looks like there’s a building consensus on this.

RADDATZ: Given what you’ve heard, and all that 17 intelligence agencies agree and the president said this, do you believe it was a Russian hack?

WOOLSEY: Well, 17 agencies -- that includes the National Reconnaissance Office that flies satellites and has nothing to do with this, I mean.

RADDATZ: But do you believe that it was a Russian?

WOOLSEY: This is really an NSA decision. And if -- I think more than anything else. And if NSA is confident that it’s the Russians, then it almost certainly is. Depends on them.

RADDATZ: OK. The CIA director Michael Hayden says Trump is already antagonizing the intelligence community and that’s a problem. Is it a problem if he doesn’t agree with the intelligence community when he comes and takes office?

WOOLSEY: Well, you know, 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 are attacked in. Just because cyber is what came at us probably from Russians doesn’t mean we go back with cyber attacks or deterrence or anything. 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 drive 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 consumer sand industry than that. So why not do that instead of getting all bogged down on exactly who hacked whom, when.

RADDATZ: I want to just very quickly if we can on the drone that the Chinese took, and they’re apparently now returning. A day after Donald Trump tweeted his displeasure, Jason Miller from the Trump team tweeting, "Donald Trump gets it done. China says it will return U.S. drone it seized."

And they say they return the drone, and then they say we -- and then Donald Trump tweets, "Keep the drone."

What’s going on there?

WOOLSEY: I don’t know. I can’t keep up with the tweets. I don’t do the social media myself, so who knows.

RADDATZ: OK, better start reading those Donald Trump tweets, then.

Thank you very much for joining us, Director Woolsey.

Up next, what is Vladimir Putin trying to achieve with this historic hack? We’ll go live to ABC’s Terry Moran in 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 take office? What tools does he have to counter Russia? Two top Congressmen on the House Intelligence Committee debate our options. Back in just two minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I welcome President Putin's interest in building a Russia that enjoys the enduring strength of a stable democracy.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I looked the man in the eye and I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. I was able to get a sense of his soul.

OBAMA: Mr. Putin and I have strong disagreements on a whole range of issues but I can talk to him. We have worked together on important issues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RADDATZ: 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, stonewalled and misled by the former KGB agent.

So will Donald Trump be any 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.

TERRY MORAN, ABC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Martha. Well, Donald Trump's victory came as much of a surprise here in Moscow as it did in the United States. But there's no question that people here are generally very happy about it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MORAN (voice-over): This week Vladimir Putin showed off his dog to journalists, a loud but obedient Akita. But the question some American liberals are openly asking…

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump and Putin versus U.S. intelligence agencies.

Let's play hardball.

(CROSSTALK)

MORAN (voice-over): -- put a poodle in the White House?

TRUMP: I think it's ridiculous, I think it's just another excuse. I don't believe it.

MORAN (voice-over): Russians don't believe it either. Around Moscow and across this vast country, Russians are watching with amazement -- and some in the Kremlin no doubt with delight -- at the full-blown American freak-out over Moscow's role in the U.S. presidential election.

President Obama this week even implicating Vladimir Putin in the hack of the DNC and Clinton's campaign staff e-mails.

OBAMA: Not much happens in Russia without Vladimir Putin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama has said it's that clear Russia hacked.

ANDREY KLIMOV, DEPUTY CHAIR (from captions): Because this is the only explanation of the results which are not so nice for him and the lady Clinton.

MORAN (voice-over): Andrey Klimov is deputy chairman of the Russian senate's foreign affairs committee and close to the Kremlin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You reject it?

KLIMOV (from captions) Absolutely. It's really, it's American fairy tales; it's American fiction. It is 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.

MORAN (voice-over): Russian media, which is dominated by Putin's regime and spews propaganda, has begun to offer a different explanation for the hack. 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So there you go. That's how you prove it was the Russians.

MORAN (voice-over): Many Russians are skeptical of the state media here but even seasoned independent analysts think this scandal is more American hysteria than actual fact.

MARIYA LIPMAN, "COUNTERPOINT": 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.

MORAN (voice-over): But 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 perceived hawkish foreign policy and her support for anti-Putin protests in 2011.

SERGEI MARKOV, KREMLIN ANALYST: And what the people believe is that Hillary Clinton as president probably means that there will be a nuclear war with the United States.

MORAN (voice-over): Still most here, like most in the U.S., thought Clinton would win, another argument for why Russia wouldn't have hacked her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Russia had nothing to do with it.

KLIMOV (from captions) For what purpose?

We have no reasons to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To get back at Hillary Clinton --

(CROSSTALK)

KLIMOV (from captions): No. No. No. Come on, come on, come on --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- cause turmoil in America.

KLIMOV (from captions): We know well who is Madam Clinton and what is her team. We hadn't any real possibilities to think about Trump like a winner.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MORAN: 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 in fact there because, here in Russia, as in the United States and around the world, a President Trump is very much a wild card -- Martha.

RADDATZ: 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?

MORAN: 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.

RADDATZ: But what if there is some sort of counterattack, counter cyber attack, how do you think they would respond?

MORAN: Well, if it's the kind of cyber attack that would turn out the lights or affect ordinary Russians, since ordinary Russians don't believe their government was involved, there would be fury here. There would be a great discontent.

I think that President Putin, he is a cautious and savvy player. I think if the response is proportional, he would probably find some way of ignoring it.

RADDATZ: 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 Lute, the U.S. ambassador to NATO joins us from Brussels.

And Ambassador Lute, part of your job is indeed to study Vladimir Putin.

So what is he up to?

What is he trying to accomplish?

DOUG LUTE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: Well, Martha, clearly things have changed over the last couple years. Most recently, of course, the news is all about cyber attacks. But actually over the last couple years, since the annexation, illegal annexation of Crimea, a sovereign peace of a neighboring country, Ukraine, Russia has really, in many ways, torn up the rule book the rule book that has guided the international system since at least World War II. It dates all the way back to the U.N. charter.

So Russia has become more a source of instability and uncertainty, of unpredictability for the NATO alliance, than it has over the last 20 years, where we honestly tried to have a meaningful reciprocal partnership with NATO.

RADDATZ: And you're meeting with the Russian representative to NATO on Monday. It's the first meeting since before the DNC hack in July.

Will you bring up cyber?

LUTE: Well, 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 malign influence that is seen not only in the United States by way of this DNC hacking experience but across other democracies in the alliance.

And these are activities which include cyber in other allied capitals but funding of political parties, misinformation campaigns and even promoting civil unrest. So there's a larger pattern here that the alliance is aware and which is a good topic for our discussion with our Russian colleague.

RADDATZ: And, Ambassador Lute, I was in Estonia earlier this year. And I flew in a fighter jet with a young American pilot who was 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 Russian-speaking eastern Estonia?

LUTE: I don't believe that anyone in Russia today intends to attack NATO. But 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 cyber attack or misinformation campaigns and so forth.

RADDATZ: And I just want to end on this, and what makes you nervous about Russia and what Russia might do next.

LUTE: Well, I worry about attempts by Russia, such as the examples I've cited -- cyber attacks, influencing -- attempts to influence political campaigns, flooding allied capitals the news media with misinformation or disinformation and all these with an attempt to fragment internally our societies, perhaps distort our political processes and to sow discontent and a lack of cohesion across the allies. So that's really the challenge here.

RADDTAZ: Thanks very much for joining us this morning, Ambassador Lute.

Up next, to 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.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RADDATZ: We'll be right back with two congressional leaders on how the U.S. should respond to those unprecedented hacks.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: 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.

REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: We don't know the Russians are involved with Podesta. And that, General Clapper said that also. They're and not certain where that came from.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RADDATZ: So, let's bring in those two congressmen you just saw. They both sitting on the House select intelligence committee. The ranking Democratic member Adam Schiff of California and the former chair of the committee, Republican Peter King of New York.

I want to get to congress's role in investigating and responding to the hacks in a moment. But first, Congressman King, we heard you right there questioning whether Russia was behind the hack of Clinton Campaign chair John Podesta. Why don't you buy the consensus of the intelligence community on that?

KING: Because we haven't been shown that consensus. What we've been told all along is that it was virtually definite that the Russians did hack the Democratic National Committee. I'm willing to accept that. I have no reason not to. But as far as John Podesta, it was uncertain whether or not that could be directly traced to the Russians. And I haven't seen anything since then. And that's what infuriates me about this, Martha, is that we have John Brennan, supposedly 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, Chairman Nunes, called 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 what the Russians did but also an investigation of John Brennan and the hit job he seems to be orchestrating against the president-elect.

RADDATZ: So you think this is all political by John Brennan?

KING: I take that control 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've never been told that before -- certainly Director Comey didn't tell us that. I have not heard that from Director Clapper.

So if he -- if that is such a dramatic finding, such a dramatic conclusion, then 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've been given no evidence on it. When you have these stories mysteriously appearing in the newspaper when we have been told the opposite or either that or -- either the opposite or nothing at all on it and then suddenly it appears right before the Electoral College is meeting, I find it shameful.

And listen, I think Putin is evil. I think the Russians are guilty of incredibly evil hacking around the world. They're constantly trying to hack the United States.

I'm not in any way defending Russia.

But I'm seeing this final conclusion about what he's saying, about Trump and Clinton, if they have evidence, show it. They have not shown it yet.

RADDATZ: OK.

KING: (INAUDIBLE) was not the case in the past.

RADDATZ: OK, Congressman, I should say, we don't know whether John Brennan is the one who leaked the information.

Congressman Schiff, you have seen more intelligence.

If Congressman King and others had seen all the intelligence, do you think they'd be convinced?

SCHIFF: Look, I discussed this with Director Brennan very recently. I think he has done a remarkable job at the agency. I don't think he's trying to politicize this in any way.

I do think there's a consensus among the top leadership in the intelligence community, not only of who was responsible, but why.

And 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 -- but let's look at what's undisputed.

RADDATZ: But why -- why not give some of this information?

I totally understand you don't want to have sources and methods out there.

But -- but can't you give the public something more substantial than what we've seen?

SCHIFF: Well, yes, and I think the administration will. And I think they should. I have certainly been urging them to do that.

But the principal reason why they haven't thus far is exactly the one you mentioned, and that is, we have good sources of information, we don't want to disclose those. I'm sure the Russians would love to know the sources of information so they can take counter-measures to prevent us from being able to attribute other Russian malignant cyber activity in the future.

And the administration shouldn't disclose that. And ultimately, this is why I think what the president-elect is doing is so damaging, because 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 Russians deniability is deeply damaging to the country.

RADDATZ: And Congressman King, former CIA director, Michael Hayden, says Trump is essentially siding with the enemy by being so publicly critical of the intelligence community.

Should President-elect Trump be so openly questioning the intelligence community?

KING: So I think 99 percent of the intelligence community does an outstanding job. What I'm talking about here specifically is the events of the last 10 days, which I find unprecedented.

And I know Adam says he spoke to Director Brennan. I have a great regard for Adam. So please, I'm not -- this is nothing between me and Adam.

But I spoke to Chairman Nunes yesterday. He told me he has spoken to Director Brennan and the information he got has not changed his opinion at all.

I'm just saying, come in and brief the entire committee. You don't have to, you know, 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 obligation and 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 "The New York Times."

And if it's not Director Brennan that gave it to "The Washington Post," then 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.

RADDATZ: And, Congressman Schiff, I want to get back to you the original question that I asked Congressman King.

Do you believe President-elect Trump is -- 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 at this point?

SCHIFF: I think he's doing enormous damage, not only to the intelligence community, but he's doing damage to himself and to his ability to lead the country when he becomes president. We are going to have a national security crisis at some point. It may be very early in the administration or it may be later, but it's going to come. And he's going to need to rely on the intelligence community. And more than that, he's going to 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.

And if he can't be believed because he's sending out false Tweets or he's persuaded the American people not to believe what our own intelligence agencies or he's given the Russians such deniability that they can come back and say are these the same intelligence agencies that the president-elect told us not believe, he is damaging himself and our national security.

I would love to see our president act now to impose sanctions, because I'm not confident the president-elect will. I'm also not confident we have established enough of a deterrent. And the Russians will be back at this.

This may have benefited Donald Trump, and, indeed, it certainly did during the campaign. But when he becomes the target of Russian hacking and meddling, he's going to take a very different view of matters and I think that's why what he's doing right now is so -- so damaging and -- and -- not only to himself, but to the country.

RADDATZ: And Congressman King, I want to let you respond to that.

KING: I think, you know, first of all, Donald Trump will do the right thing. I'm confident he will do the right thing. And as far as competency between the CIA and the president, I don't think Director Brennan or the top leadership of the CIA is doing very much to engender confidence when they're putting out these stories and they're not willing to back them up with the intelligence committees that have the responsibility for it.

SCHIFF: Just a second, Martha.

KING: It just seems like a hit job.

RADDATZ: Just very quickly.

SCHIFF: There's so much common agreement on the very basic facts of the Russian hacking and meddling in our election, that ought to be enough to bring us together not only to enact sanctions and costs on the Russians, some disclosed, some not disclosed, but to work together in a very bipartisan basis to investigate this in a joint House-Senate intelligence investigation or independent commission...

RADDATZ: And -- and you agree with that...

SCHIFF: This rises to that significance.

RADDATZ: -- Congressman King, a joint House-Senate...

KING: Yes, I -- I'm sorry.

Yes, I definitely agree, there should be an investigation. I think the Intelligence Committees are the ones best equipped to do it, in both the House and the Senate. If it's joint between the House and Senate, that's fine.

I don't -- I think creating a new commission or a new committee takes so long to get the staff together, everything together. Right now, both the House and Senate committees have everything in place to carry out an investigation. And it should be done.

I agree with Adam. I think if 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 20.

RADDATZ: OK, thanks to both of you.

KING: Thank you.

RADDATZ: Up next, the country divided, unable to agree on even the truth itself. Can anything heal the partisan divide and bring America together?

The Powerhouse Roundtable is up next, in just 30 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: 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've lost track of what it is that we're about and what we stand for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RADDATZ: 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 Roundtable.

ABC News contributor and Republican pollster, Kristen Soltis Anderson; ABC News contributor and ESPN senior writer, LZ Granderson; Bloomberg White House reporter Jennifer Jacobs; and ABC News' Cokie Roberts.

Good morning to all of you.

COKIE ROBERTS, ABC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning.

LZ GRANDERSON, ESPN & CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.

RADDATZ: Quite a morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

RADDATZ: And Cokie, I want to start with you.

There is no question the country is divided, but does the president take it too far?

ROBERTS: No, I don't think so. I mean we've never seen division like this, except in the period before the Civil War, and then we had more.

And the fact is, is that to have Republicans defending Russians is one of the more remarkable things that's happened in my lifetime.

I mean 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.

RADDATZ: And, LZ, the president talked about how this happened beyond the usual partisan divide.

How do you see it?

GRANDERSON: You know, we've heard a lot of things that can destroy the country. You've heard gay marriage can destroy the country, abortion, disco, hip-hop...

(LAUGHTER)

GRANDERSON: But the one thing...

ROBERTS: But disco almost did.

GRANDERSON: Disco almost did.

But the one thing that would for sure destroy the country is when we choose partisanship over patriotism. And I think what are the frustrating things that you're talking about, Cokie, is the fact that there seems to be a common enemy -- or what used to be a common enemy.

And now that common enemy is no longer there and it's why if a person's no longer there, what a entity is no longer there is because people are choosing party over the country. And that's extremely disappointing. So that's how I see it.

RADDATZ: And, Jennifer, Donald Trump has been fairly quiet on this.

Why is that?

What are you hearing at Trump Tower?

JENNIFER JACOBS, BLOOMBERG WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, I think they just -- they really truly believe that anything about these Russian hacks just delegitimatizes his presidency. And they have said that over and over again and until after Monday, when the electoral college has voted, I think they're going to keep on denying this really strenuously.

But Donald Trump is aware of the problems with cyber security. Remember in Gettysburg at that big speech he gave about the contract to America, his 100-day plan, he talked about how one of his priorities was going to be beefing up security and helping protect our cyber infrastructure.

So he's very much aware of this problem.

RADDATZ: Is there a way then to talk about it as a Russian hack but not so much that it changed the election?

JACOBS: That's exactly right --

(CROSSTALK)

JACOBS: -- that's exactly right.

RADDATZ: And, Kristen, where do you think Trump supporters stand on this?

Do they care?

They're paying attention?

KRISTEN SOLTIS ANDERSON, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: I think for a lot of Trump supporters, they're viewing this through that partisan tribal lens. They're viewing this, as Congressman King said, sort of a hit job on the president-elect.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that Republicans writ large love Vladimir Putin, love Russia. We have seen debates over Vladimir Putin, Russia WikiLeaks, fall into very partisan camps, where you have seen things like WikiLeaks suddenly have an increase in support from Republicans and a decrease in support from Democrats.

But at the same time a majority of Republicans still have an unfavorable view of Vladimir Putin. A majority of Republicans still feel that Russia is more of an adversary than an ally.

And in that same survey they found that they believe Trump does view Russia as more of an ally than an adversary. So Republicans know that Trump may not be on exactly the same page with them and I think this is one of the debates that's going to be fascinating to watch play out in confirmation hearings, in the first 100 days.

These areas where Donald Trump may hold a view, perhaps loosely, perhaps rooted again in this view of, well, this is about the legitimacy of my election, not about him really loving Vladimir Putin in any way. But I think there are some areas where Donald Trump holds views that are not where a majority of Republicans are.

And it'll be interesting to see how that debate --

(CROSSTALK)

ROBERTS: -- Martha, we have spent billions and billions and billions of dollars in this country in shoring up our defenses against the Russians. And we have got missiles aimed at them and all of that.

RADDATZ: Missiles would not have stopped this. They definitely would not have stopped this.

ROBERTS: I mean, this has been our enemy since World War II and, here we are, sort of just blithely --

RADDATZ: But it also shows how vulnerable we are as a country to cyber attacks.

LZ, one of the things that you're hearing -- one of the people you're hearing a lot from is Hillary Clinton, talking to donors about the election that they -- that the Russians carried this out because they held a grudge against her.

Can she kind of get that sore loser thing label?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.

GRANDERSON: Well, at the end of the day, the e-mails, whether they were hacked or not, said what they said. And it's sort of supported what a lot of Bernie supporters felt.

You know, we talked about this, Cokie, that I thought one of the things that she should have done was going out to the people who were supporting Johnson because they were correlating him to be in Sanders (ph).

Maybe if she had gotten more of Johnson's voters, she would have kept up the blue wall. It was about her messaging. It was about self-inflicted wounds and it was definitely about the sort of voter suppression that happened because of the hacking.

RADDATZ: And, Cokie, it seems that people are still holding out hope that the electoral college, when they vote tomorrow, will somehow miraculously decide that Hillary Clinton is the winner.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's not going to happen.

ROBERTS: 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 makes a challenge and it never goes anywhere. And I think that -- and, of course, tomorrow we won't know the votes. Tomorrow they just go to the state capitals.

And it happens on the first Monday after the second Wednesday of December.

Who thought that up?

RADDATZ: Who could even remember that?

Good job, Cokie.

ROBERTS: Well, I looked it up. But then -- but then the votes are, of course, counted in the Senate in January, a joint session in January, presided over by the vice president. And we've often in our history had a vice president stand up and declare the winner against himself.

RADDATZ: OK, Jennifer, this week Trump was supposed to address his conflicts of interest in a press conference; instead, he sent a tweet blasting the media for complicating the issue.

Does the public out there care about conflicts of interest?

JACOBS: Yes. And you know, people are starting to get suspicious of everything that Trump's do at this point. There was some chatter this week 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 close to Ivanka that that is just absolutely not true, one said it's just ridiculous. But people are starting to believe everything they hear about the Trumps.

But one good sign is how they did cancel that auction for the coffee with Ivanka. That's an annual thing that Eric Trump does to raise money for his children's charity work. They're starting to listen to their lawyers. They canceled that coffee because it was reported by "The New York Times" that people were trying to use that coffee to gain access through Ivanka to her father. So they're listening to their lawyers. That's a good sign.

RADDATZ: And I just 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 vicious and violence during the campaign but said, "Now you're laid back, you're cool, you're 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?

ANDERSON: We have had a lot of times in this election where we said, is this the moment that Donald Trump is making his --

RADDATZ: I probably said that 100 times.

(CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON: So I feel like I'm not going to say that I think this is some big pivot from him. But I do think that, in the heat of an election, we fall into these very tribal and partisan camps and things get very heated.

And I think there is a chance that, with the new administration, he will have an opportunity that perhaps no other candidate in either party could have had to come in and be sort of untethered by ideology, unhandcuffed by some of the traditional baggage and come in and say, hey, House Republicans, I would like you to pass a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill, things that no Democrat --

(CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON: -- no other Republican wouldn't even --

(CROSSTALK)

ANDERSON: --the audacity to try.

So it may be a very interesting 100 days --

RADDATZ: So what have we learned about?

GRANDERSON: Well, he may not be tethered by the traditional things but there's some brand new things that 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 also depending upon them to renew their lease during your presidency?

He owes hundreds of millions dollars to the Deutsche Bank. The Deutsche Bank happens to be under investigation. You have to appoint the attorney general, who's investigating the Deutsche Bank that you owe hundreds of millions of dollars to.

So what have we learned?

We have learned that Donald Trump is going to be Donald Trump. And I wish I was as optimistic as you are, KSA, but I just --

ANDERSON: I'm looking and I'm looking --

RADDATZ: Let's leave on a -- let's leave on an optimistic note to all of you.

ROBERTS: The people who go --

RADDATZ: You've got 10 seconds.

ROBERTS: -- say that they have reasonable conversations with him and that he asks thoughtful questions. He needs to tone down his supporters. That's what he needs to do.

RADDATZ: And I think that's what he was trying to do right there at that rally.

Thanks to all of you. Merry Christmas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Merry Christmas.

RADDATZ: We'll be right back after this from our ABC stations.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

RADDATZ: That's all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. We'll be off next Sunday for Christmas. But we'll see you back here in 2017. Have a Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.

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