The back and forth between Donald Trump on one hand, and the Democrats and US intelligence services, on the other continued on Saturday morning.
One day after Trump issued an official response to the US intelligence community's report in which it concluded that Putin personally manipulated millions of Americans into voting for Trump instead of Hillary by watching RT YouTube clips, and he stated that while he has "tremendous respect for the work and service done by the men and women of this community" he added "there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines", he has resumed his vendetta with both the Democrats and the US intelligence agencies on a less formal - and his preferred by far - setting, Twitter.
In a couple of tweets early Saturday morning, Trump once again downplayed the Russian influence, stating that there was no evidence the hacking affected election results, and repeated the punchline from his official response, saying " there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election results. Voting machines not touched!"
Intelligence stated very strongly there was absolutely no evidence that hacking affected the election results. Voting machines not touched!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2017
In a follow up tweet moments later, Trump stated that Democrats were continuing to make a fuss about the "hacking of the poorly defended DNC" is because they 'lost so big" they are “totally embarrassed” by the election results.
Only reason the hacking of the poorly defended DNC is discussed is that the loss by the Dems was so big that they are totally embarrassed!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2017
Prior to the Saturday morning mini tweetstorm, on Friday evening Trump tweeted that "gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee had allowed the hacking by Russia."
Gross negligence by the Democratic National Committee allowed hacking to take place.The Republican National Committee had strong defense!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 7, 2017
The reason behind Trump's ongoing war with the intelligence agencies and the DNC is clear: with the report, and the ongoing media narrative, US intelligence services continue to delegitimize Trump's victory, by asserting that he was the favored candidate of Russia, and that Moscow ran a sophisticated operation to try to influence the election, taking away from Trump's victory.
And while the report did not conclude that the Russian interference tipped the scales to Trump, who defeated Hillary Clinton in the electoral college with surprise wins in the states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, the constant tit-for-tat with Russia makes Trump's win, at least in his eyes, seem less important.
Trump and his team have sought to prevent any talk of Russia’s interference in the election from undermining his victory in the election or tarnishing his presidency. He has talked about the need to move beyond the issue of Russian hacking, but has also at times offered comments on Twitter that have irritated members of the intelligence community by casting doubts on their conclusions.
Case in point, on Friday night Trump's adviser Kellyanne Conway told CNN she rejected the intelligence community's assessment that Russia meddled in the 2016 election, saying "conclusive evidence" has not yet been provided to the President-elect.
"Remember, the moment you mention Russian hacking and the election, the same sentence, you know what the impression is for a lot of the viewers," she told CNN's Chris Cuomo in a contentious interview on CNN's "New Day."
Trump's former campaign adviser also said Hillary Clinton's team continues to suggest that Russia wanted Trump to beat the Democratic presidential nominee.
"I really believe that there are those out there who are trying to delegitimize his presidency, review the election results, and you know it," she said.
US intelligence agencies have consistently said they have evidence showing the Russian government attempted to influence the 2016 president election through cyberhacking, even if they have yet to demonstrate any of it, which is why Conway continues to denies the suggestion that Russia wanted Trump to win.
"The Russians didn't want him elected, because he has said very clearly during the campaign and now as President-elect that he is going to modernize our nuclear capability, he's going to call for an increase in defense budget, he's going to have oil and gas exploration -- all which goes against Russia's economic and military interests," she said.
"Donald Trump got elected in part because people want a tougher leader in the White House, a tougher Commander-in-Chief," Conway added.
It is likely that for the next two weeks, as long as Obama remains in charge, this topic will continue to propagate across the media, and Trump will continue to inundate Twitter with his continued opposition to any suggestion that he is merely a puppet of Russia.