President-elect Donald Trump is taking the side of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange — who is currently hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid facing rape charges — over U.S. intelligence officials when it comes to information on who's behind the hacking of Democratic emails in the 2016 presidential election.
In a tweet Wednesday morning, Trump repeated the claim Assange made to Fox News that it was not the Russians who gave him the hacked emails of John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign chair.
His comments came after a Tuesday tweet in which Trump doubted U.S. intelligence officials' conclusion that Russia was behind the hack of Podesta and the Democratic National Committee. In that tweet, Trump put "intelligence" and "Russian hacking" in scare quotes, casting doubt on the unanimous consensus of trained U.S. intelligence officers that Russia is the culprit of the hacks.
Members of Trump's own party called Trump out for taking Assange's side over the U.S. intelligence community.
Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton, an Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, told MSNBC that he trusts the U.S. intelligence community over Assange.
And Democrats are calling Trump out as well, including Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) who said Trump needs to have more respect for intelligence officials.
Trump's claim that his intelligence briefing was delayed is also disputed by multiple intelligence sources, who said the full briefing on the Russia hacks was always scheduled for Friday.
Trump is slated to receive an intelligence briefing on Russia's involvement in the election email hacking on Friday from top U.S. intelligence officers such as CIA Director John Brennan, FBI Director James Comey and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, the Washington Post reported.