The American intelligence community had concluded Russia is to blame for cyberattacks during the US election, including those targeting Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange disagrees. And in a move one Republican political consultant sees as "mocking American men and women who … put their lives on the line for us," Donald Trump is siding with the latter, reports the New York Times. In a tweet Wednesday, Trump repeated claims Assange made on Fox News on Tuesday, reports USA Today: "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!" The tweet didn't go over well, including with members of his own party.
"Let's stare this reality square in the face: PEOTUS is pro-Putin and believes Julian Assange over the @CIA. On Jan. 20 we will be less safe," tweeted former Pentagon and CIA spokesman George Little in response, per CNN. "I have a lot more faith in our intelligence officers … than I do in people like Julian Assange," added Republican Sen. Tom Cotton, per Politico. House Speaker Paul Ryan didn't address Trump's tweet, but did call Assange "a sycophant for Russia" and suggested Trump would become "better informed" once Friday's intelligence briefing about Russian hacking occurred. Trump on Tuesday night tweeted the meeting was "delayed" to Friday, suggesting the reason was "more time needed to build a case." Intelligence officials, however, say the meeting was always planned for Friday.