The vice president-elect also denounced hacking investigations as an attempt to delegitimize the election despite government findings of Russian intereference
Vice president-elect Mike Pence denied on Sunday that Donald Trumps presidential campaign had any contacts with Russia, insisting investigations into Russian hacking of political parties are a distraction.
Since the election, US intelligence agencies have publicly concluded that the Kremlin orchestrated a series of hacks intended to create chaos, defeat Hillary Clinton and help Trump win the White House.
After weeks of doubting such opinions, Trump this week told: I think it was Russia. But he did not answer questions about alleged contacts between advisers and powerful Russians.
On Sunday, Pence denied there were any such contacts, telling Fox News Sunday: Of course not. Why would there be any contacts between the campaign?
On Friday the White House said it was aware of regular contact between Trumps pick for national security consultant, retired Lt Gen Michael Flynn, and the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak. Before the campaign, Flynn met Putin and stimulated occasional appearances on Russia Today, a Kremlin-funded media network.
Pence denied that Flynn spoke with Russias ambassador in December about sanctions on Russian officials.
I talked to General Flynn yesterday, and the conversations that took place at that time were not in any way related to new US sanctions against Russia and the expulsion of envoys, Pence said.
He then was contended that the intelligence agencies conclusions were politically motivated. I joined this campaign in the summer, he told, and I can tell you that all the contact by the Trump campaign and the associates were with the American people.
This is all a distraction, and its all part of a narrative to delegitimize the election. The American people ensure right through it.
The president-elects transition team has however tried to distance itself from Carter Page, whom Trump called a foreign policy adviser during the campaign. Page has longstanding business interests in Russia, and visited Moscow in December.
The campaign has said less about Paul Manafort, Trumps former campaign chairwoman who worked for allies of the Kremlin before joining the businessmans presidential run, which he left following reports that he had received vast sums for his work in Ukraine.
Some of the allegations about contacts were included in an unsubstantiated document, compiled by a former British intelligence officer and published this week by BuzzFeed, which Pence called salacious garbage.
Pence insisted that Trump merely wanted to improve relations with Putin, whom the businessman has frequently praised and said he wants to work with.
A report in the British Sunday Hour newspaper on Sunday cited a Trump transition team source and told plans were afoot for a summit in Reykjavik as Trumps first foreign visit. A Kremlin spokesman said on Sunday no talks about such a visit had yet taken place.
Also on Sunday, the incoming White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, refused to say what policy Trump would have toward Russias invasion of Crimea and east Ukraine and the continuing war it caused there.
On Fox, Pence told: I believe the president-elect has made it very clear that we have a terrible relationship with Russia right now. What the president-elect is determined to do is explore the possibility of better relations.
During the campaign, Pence occasionally denied that that Trump had made certain statements even when the businessman was on video telling them. He denied Trump had promised to release his tax returns, for example, and that Trump had suggested Saudi Arabia and South Korea should develop their own nuclear weapons.
Also on Fox News Sunday, CIA director John Brennan defended the intelligence agencies conclusions.
Spontaneity is not something that protects national security interests, Brennan told. So hence when[ Trump] speaks or where reference is reacts, just make sure he understands that the implications and impact on the United States could be profound.
Its more than just about Mr Trump. Its about the United States of America.
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