Trump cites Assange claim about Russia hacking

When it comes to claims that Russia hacked Democratic officials during last year's election, President-elect Donald Trump is apparently taking the word of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over that of U.S. intelligence officials.

"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.

Podesta is the Hillary Clinton campaign chairman whose emails were released by WikiLeaks during the campaign, part of an effort that U.S. intelligence officials attributed to the Russians, perhaps in order to help Trump win the election.

Trump, who has questioned the potential involvement of Russia, is scheduled to receive a special intelligence briefing on the hackings on Friday.

In later tweets, Trump questioned why the Democratic National Committee didn't have the the same "hacking defense" as the Republican Party did.

The Assange tweet came the morning after Trump claimed — without evidence — that intelligence officials had delayed a briefing on the allegations against Russia.

Tweeted Trump late Tuesday: "The 'Intelligence' briefing on so-called 'Russian hacking' was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!"

Intelligence officials told reporters that the special briefing has always been scheduled for Friday; it is part of a review ordered by President Obama, who has also accused the Russians of seeking to intervene in the 2016 presidential election.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied involvement in the email hackings of Democratic Party and Clinton campaign officials.

In an interview with Fox News, Assange said the WikiLeaks source was not a "state party." He also said the accusers are seeking to "de-legitimtize" Trump's win, a claim also made by the president-elect and his aides.

U.S. intelligence officials have said WikiLeaks takes information anonymously, and that Russians took advantage of that system.

Meanwhile, U.S. lawmakers in both parties questioned Trump's criticism of the U.S. intelligence community.

"Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday of getting back at you," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. "So even for a practical supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he's being really dumb to do this.”

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., also on MSNBC, said that "I have a lot more faith in our intelligence officers" than in "people like Julian Assange."


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