Donald Trump vs. US Intelligence: A timeline of the president's spat with the FBI and CIA

Donald Trump vs. US Intelligence: A timeline of the president's spat with the FBI and CIA
President Donald Trump speaks at the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Va., Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Andrew Harnik/AP
President Donald Trump speaks at the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Va., Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Andrew Harnik/AP

President Donald Trump is planning to have Stephen Feinberg, co-founder of Cerberus Capital Management and a top donor to the president's campaign, conduct a broad review of the U.S. intelligence community, the New York Times reported Wednesday. 

Feinberg, who has no national security experience, would lead a review to determine ways to streamline U.S. intelligence, according to Reuters. 

The intelligence community is opposed to the review by a Trump ally, whom they fear is being groomed for a key role in one of the intelligence agencies. 

This all comes amid worsening relations between the president and the intelligence community, which he has attacked in recent days over "leaks" in the aftermath of national security adviser Michael Flynn's resignation

As this new chapter of the feud unfolds, here is a look back at how all this began.

During the campaign

Donald Trump speaks during a campaign appearance in Pennsylvania October 10, 2016.
Donald Trump speaks during a campaign appearance in Pennsylvania October 10, 2016. Dennis Van Tine/MediaPunch

In July, just before the 2016 Democratic National Convention, WikiLeaks released close to 20,000 released emails from the DNC and the Clinton campaign. 

On Oct. 7, the Department of Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence released a joint statement announcing that the intelligence community was "confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations."

Two days later, at the second presidential debate, Trump openly questioned those findings, saying, "Maybe there was no hacking."

"They like to say the Russians did it," Trump said of the hack. "They think they're trying to tarnish me with Russia. I know nothing about Russia." He had previously said it was possible "somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds" was responsible for the hack — not Russia.

After the election

President Donald Trump speaks during a 'Thank You Tour 2016' rally in Orlando, Florida on December 16, 2016.
President Donald Trump speaks during a 'Thank You Tour 2016' rally in Orlando, Florida on December 16, 2016. JIM WATSON/Getty Images

Donald Trump's rift with the intelligence community became more pronounced after upsetting Hillary Clinton to become the 45th President of the United States.

Soon after his election, Trump declined daily intelligence briefings, saying he didn't need them because he is "like, a smart person." 

In December, the CIA told Senators that Russia had not only interfered in the 2016 election, but had done so with the intent of getting Trump into the White House. 

Trump and his transition team immediately dismissed the claims. 

In his Person of the Year interview with Time, Trump said that he did not believe Russia interfered in the election.

"It could be Russia," Trump said. "And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey."

Later, his transition team released a statement that not only rejected the CIA's findings, but called the agency's judgement into question.

"These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction," the Trump transition team said Dec. 9. "The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It's now time to move on and "Make America Great Again.'"

Trump continued to attack the intelligence community into January, appearing to side with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over his own intelligence community and expressing skepticism about the agencies on Twitter. 

After the release of an unverified bombshell report alleging Russia had been "assisting Trump for at least five years" and that he had received a "golden shower show," Trump invoked Nazi Germany in a tirade against U.S. intelligence.

After the inauguration

President Donald Trump speaks at the CIA headquarters on January 21 in Langley, Virginia .
President Donald Trump speaks at the CIA headquarters on January 21 in Langley, Virginia . Pool/Getty Images

The day after Trump assumed the presidency, he gave a rambling speech at CIA headquarters in which he blamed the media for "[making] it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community."

"I have a running war with the media," Trump said. "They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth. And they sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community. And I just want to let you know, the reason you’re the number-one stop is exactly the opposite — exactly."

As noted by FactCheck.org, this was "revisionist history" — Trump had publicly battled with the intelligence community for months. 

But Trump boasted that the speech had gone over great with the CIA, despite the fact that many present were uncomfortable as the president used the opportunity to whine that the media had misrepresented the size of the crowd at his inauguration and to talk about the number of times he'd appeared on the cover of Time magazine.

Former CIA director John Brennan was "saddened and angered at Donald Trump's despicable display of self-aggrandizement in front of CIA's Memorial Wall of Agency heroes," his former chief of staff said in a statement. 

Though Trump said in those remarks that he is "with [the intelligence community] 1,000%," the rift between his White House and the U.S. intelligence community has grown since.

There have been reports that intelligence agencies may be withholding information from Trump, and the president has lashed out against the community and the media for "leaks" that led to the resignation of Michael Flynn.

On Thursday morning, Trump fired off a series of tweets critical of intelligence and the media — and once again seemed to dismiss Russian interference in the November election as a fiction conjured up by his political opponents.