Donald Trump: Only 'stupid people' want bad US ties with Russia

Mr Trump said there are enough problems around the world

Donald Trump: Only 'stupid people' want bad US ties with Russia

In this file photo, President-elect Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during an event in Cincinnati | Image: Evan Vucci AP/Press Association Images

US President-elect Donald Trump has said having a good relationship with Russia is a "good thing, not a bad thing".

And only "stupid people or fools" would think it was negative, he said, as he appeared to hit out at critics of Moscow.

Mr Trump said there are enough problems around the world "without another one" and when he becomes president, Russia will "respect" the US "far more than now".

The tycoon, whose inauguration ceremony is due on January 20th, also said he hoped the two countries could work together to solve many "great and pressing problems" around the globe.

Ties between Washington and Moscow have become strained in the wake of allegations that Russia used hacking to interfere in last year's White House election.

President Barack Obama imposed new sanctions on Moscow and dozens of Russian diplomats were expelled from America in retaliation for the alleged cyber attacks.

Russia denies the hacking accusations.

US intelligence chiefs claim in a report Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a campaign to influence the election by trying to undermine and discredit Hillary Clinton to boost Mr Trump's chances of winning.

Briefing with intelligence officials

The Republican candidate unexpectedly defeated his Democratic opponent in November's contest but he has been sceptical of the hacking accusations and called the controversy a "political witch-hunt".

Mr Trump later said he had "learned a lot" from a briefing with intelligence officials but declined to say whether he accepted their assertions about alleged Russian intrusion.

US spy agencies believe Moscow hacked into the e-mails of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Mrs Clinton's campaign team and fed the material to WikiLeaks.

But the report claimed there were also targets associated with the Republican Party.

Earlier in the day, Mr Trump said the only reason the hacking of Democrat emails was being discussed was because the party lost "so big" in the election and was "totally embarrassed".

The billionaire businessman said any hacking during the campaign had no effect on the result and voting machines were not tampered with.

Mr Trump has said he will appoint a team to "aggressively combat and stop cyber attacks" by coming up with a plan within 90 days of him taking office.

Mr Putin most likely wanted to discredit Mrs Clinton because he blames her for inciting protests against his regime in late 2011 and early 2012, and because he resents her for disparaging comments she has made about him, the report said.

The report said Russian intelligence accessed "elements" of multiple state and local electoral boards, but "the systems targeted or compromised were not involved in counting votes".