United States President-elect Donald Trump has mocked an upcoming intelligence briefing on alleged Russian hacking in the U.S. presidential election, implying the U.S. authorities will fabricate the contents of the briefing.
Trump tweeted that he was originally scheduled to receive the briefing on Tuesday, Jan. 3, but the meeting was delayed until Friday because “perhaps more time [was] needed to build a case.” In a familiar linguistic flourish, the president-elect called the delay “very strange!”
Intelligence officials have disputed Trump’s claim, saying that the briefing was never scheduled for Tuesday, as even President Barack Obama would not have received it by then.
Trump did receive a regular intelligence briefing on Tuesday, but officials had already scheduled the Russia briefing for Friday several days ago, one unnamed intelligence official told the Washington Post.
“It's possible that [Trump’s] team has some scheduling disconnect,” the official said.
President Obama is set to receive an extensive report on Russia’s alleged cyber attacks against the U.S. “within days,” CIA Director John Brennan told the PBS television channel in an interview published Jan. 3.
The report will cover “what Russia was doing, how it was doing it, and how we know that,” Brennan said. President-elect Trump could receive a briefing on the intelligence or the report itself at President Obama’s discretion, he added.
The U.S. government has alleged that Kremlin-backed hackers targeted the Democratic Party and other institutions related to the presidential elections.
In July, Some 20,000 emails were leaked from Democratic National Convention (DNC) servers, embarrassing senior party figures and forcing Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz to resign. Both the CIA and FBI have stated that the hacking was carried out in support of Trump, then a presidential candidate believed to have a slim chance of winning the election.
On Dec. 29, the United States issued a series of sanctions against Russia in retaliation for the hacking. The White House ejected 35 Russian intelligence operatives from the country and imposed sanctions on Russia’s two leading intelligence services. The U.S. also sanctioned four intelligence officers who belong to a military unit Washington says ordered the hacking attacks on the DNC.
Despite initial reports to the contrary, Russia ultimately declined to impose retaliatory sanctions.