Trump Cites Julian Assange in Denial of Russian Hacking

Donald Trump
Donald Trump / AP
January 4, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday appeared to again reject the intelligence community's conclusion that Russia was behind the election-related cyber attacks during the 2016 campaign, citing denials by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that Moscow provided the site with hacked documents.

Assange maintained in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday night that the stolen emails leaked in the months leading up to the presidential election were not provided by Russia.

"Julian Assange said 'a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta' — why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!" Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.

Trump drew ire from the U.S. intelligence community on Tuesday evening after he tweeted that a planned intelligence briefing on "so-called 'Russian hacking'" had been delayed until Friday, suggesting the delay was needed to establish more evidence.

An intelligence official told NBC News the comment was not only "adversarial" but incorrect. The official said the briefing was always set for Friday, according to NBC.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) rejected Trump's comments on Wednesday. He said he backed the intelligence community's report that Russia directed the hacks into the Democratic National Committee.

"I have a lot more faith in our intelligence officers serving around the world, very smart and experienced analysts that we have here in the nation's capital, than I do in people like Julian Assange," Cotton said on MSNBC.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) also rejected Assange's credibility, calling the WikiLeaks founder a "sycophant for Russia," the Hill reported.

"He leaks, he steals data, and compromises national security," Ryan told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

All 17 U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded Russia was behind the election-related hacks. President Obama ordered the intelligence community to compile a report assessing the impact the breaches had on the election prior to his departure from office later this month.