President-elect Donald Trump answers questions from reporters accompanied by wife Melania for a New Year's Eve party December 31, 2016 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.

Don Emmert | AFP | Getty Images

President-elect Donald Trump answers questions from reporters accompanied by wife Melania for a New Year’s Eve party December 31, 2016 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.

Only hours before the U.S. intelligence community was set to brief Donald Trump on the findings that led it to conclude Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, the president-elect again forcefully denied the accusations.

Trump told The New York Times on Friday morning that the focus on Russia is a “political witch hunt,” again sowing doubts about the allegations he claims his opponents are using to discredit his electoral win. He argued that previous breaches of U.S. institutions did not get as much attention as the Russia accusations, which have prompted Obama administration sanctions and bipartisan calls for tougher responses to cyberattacks.

“China, relatively recently, hacked 20 million government names,” he said, referring to a data breach of the Office of Personnel Management. “How come nobody even talks about that? This is a political witch hunt.”

Top U.S. intelligence officials are expected to brief Trump on Friday afternoon about their findings about Russia’s role in the election. Trump for months has downplayed the accusations that Russia interfered with the process.

Russia has denied links to the breaches of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta that rocked the presidential election.

Read the full New York Times story here

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