Breaking News Emails
The president-elect has taken yet more swipes at the intelligence community that will be under his command in just a few weeks, once again on Twitter.
Donald Trump mocked intelligence officials on Tuesday evening, claiming they had delayed a scheduled briefing on alleged Russian hacking because they "needed more time to build a case."
And on Wednesday, Trump continued to cast doubt on intelligence findings as he cited WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange's claim that a "14-year-old kid could have hacked" the emails of Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman John Podesta. "Also [Assange] said Russians did not give him the info!" Trump added.
Trump's tweets came after Assange once again claimed that Russia was not the source of Podesta's stolen emails, published by WikiLeaks. He told Fox News' Sean Hannity that our "source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party" and that "a 14-year-old kid could have hacked Podesta."
Intelligence experts both inside and outside of the government say evidence suggests Russia had tried to influence the election. The Obama administration has said the hacking campaign went to the highest level of the Russian government.
Trump has previously stated that it's nearly impossible to know who hacked what and when. The president-elect antagonized the intelligence community over the weekend, telling reporters gathered outside his New Year’s Eve party that hacking is a “very hard thing to prove” and that he knows “things that other people don’t know, and so [intelligence officials] cannot be sure of the situation."
Trump has promised to reveal what he proclaims to know this week but there has been some confusion over when he will receive new intelligence briefings.
He initially said he would be meeting with high-level intel briefers mid-week but that it was delayed.
However, a senior U.S. intelligence official with direct knowledge of the situation told NBC News Tuesday night that the heads of the NSA, CIA, FBI and the director of national intelligence were always scheduled to meet with Trump on Friday.
Another official had previously told NBC News that the briefing was scheduled for Wednesday, but that was apparently wrong.
A senior intelligence official called Trump's tweet disturbing and "adversarial," telling NBC News: "He's calling out the men and women of the intelligence community the way he called out Lockheed and Boeing, but these are public servants."
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the new top Democrat in the Senate, said on MSNBC Tuesday night that Trump was being "really dumb" in taking on the U.S. intelligence community. "You take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday to get back at you," he told Rachel Maddow on her show.
CIA Director John Brennan told PBS Newshour Tuesday that his report on Russian hacking was in the “final throes” and would be delivered to President Obama in days.
Meanwhile, Trump earlier Tuesday tweeted that he would be holding his first news conference in over five months. The Jan. 11 date is a reschedule from when Trump had promised to hold a press conference in late December, but didn't. The last time Trump held a pre-scheduled open media availability was on July 27, 2016.