Trump revives attack on intel community in early morning Twitter burst
By Tara Haelle01/13/17 07:12 AM EST POLITICO
President-elect Donald Trump renewed his criticism of the intelligence community Friday morning, blaming it once again for leaking an unverified report containing compromising and salacious allegations about him to the media and citing the Russian government as proof that the dossier's allegations are false.
That report, which had circulated for months among government officials and media institutions, was published Tuesday evening in full by BuzzFeed, which cautioned that the information it contained was unverified and included multiple errors. BuzzFeed’s decision to publish that report, the product of a private security company paid to develop opposition research on Trump, came on the same day that CNN reported that a summary of it had been included in briefings delivered to both the president-elect and President Barack Obama.
“It now turns out that the phony allegations against me were put together by my political opponents and a failed spy afraid of being sued. Totally made up facts by sleazebag political operatives, both Democrats and Republicans - FAKE NEWS!” Trump said in a flurry of posts to Twitter Friday morning. “Russia says nothing exists. Probably released by ‘Intelligence’ even knowing there is no proof, and never will be. My people will have a full report on hacking within 90 days!”
The "failed spy" Trump refers to is the supposed author of the report, a former British M16 agent identified by the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and other media organizations as Christopher Steele. He is the director of a London-based intelligence company named Orbis Business Intelligence.
The president-elect continued to blame the intelligence community for leaking the report despite assurances from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who took the unusual step on Wednesday of releasing a statement reading out a phone call he placed to Trump. In that readout, Clapper said he told Trump that he didn't believe the intelligence community was behind the leak, has not made a judgment about the veracity of the report published by BuzzFeed and that such leaks are “extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security.”
A Russian government spokesman said Wednesday that the report amounted to “pulp fiction,” and that the Kremlin did not possess compromising information about Trump or his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton. The president-elect has repeatedly cited this assertion as proof that the claims are false.
Trump has promised to initiate a cybersecurity review immediately upon taking office with a report to be delivered to him within 90 days. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a longtime supporter of Trump's who works as a security consultant for foreign governments, said Thursday that he will head up that team.