Trump claims his briefing on Russian cyberattacks was delayed, but US intelligence officer says otherwise
President-elect Donald Trump mocked US intelligence officials on Tuesday in a tweet claiming his briefing on Russian cyberattacks was delayed, and once again cast doubt on their claims that Russia interfered with the presidential election.
“The ‘Intelligence’ briefing on so-called ‘Russian hacking’ was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!” Trump said on Twitter.
However, a senior US intelligence official immediately refuted Trump’s claim, saying the briefing with the heads of the NSA, CIA, DNI and the FBI was “always” scheduled for Friday, NBC News reported.
Last week, Trump said he agreed to meet with intelligence officials about Russia’s involvement in the hacks, although he added it was “time to move on.”
He also claimed he would reveal insider information about the cyberattacks on Tuesday or Wednesday, although a member of Trump’s team told CNN Trump would not be following through.
Trump official tells me no plans for Trump to speak on Russia hacking tomorrow. Over wknd, Trump said he would have more "Tues or Wed"
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) January 4, 2017
Lawmakers slammed Trump’s Tuesday night tweet.
“Really wish we saw more PEOTUS respect for our intelligence professionals,” Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia said on Twitter. “Proves the need for Congress to give the American people a timely bipartisan probe.”
Incoming Senate Democratic minority leader, Chuck Schumer, also weighed in — calling Trump’s comments “really dumb” during an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
“Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer continued.
The FBI, CIA, and the Director of National Intelligence concluded in December that Russia interfered with the election in part to help Trump secure the presidency, with Russian president Vladimir Putin possibly being personally involved.
As punishment, President Barack Obama announced last week a new round of sanctions against Russia, including the removal of 35 intelligence Russian officials from the US. Trump has consistently questioned the allegations against Russia.
Tuesday’s tweet was another example of Trump’s dismissive attitude toward the intelligence agencies he’ll soon be working with. Last month, the president-elect brushed off concerns he wasn’t attending his traditional daily intelligence and national security briefings.
“I get it when I need it,” Trump said.
“I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years,” he added. “I don’t need that. But I do say, ‘If something should change, let us know.'”
(h/t Business Insider)