President-elect Donald Trump continued to dispute US intelligence reports that Russia strategically hacked and leaked internal emails from top Democratic sources, citing recent statements from embattled WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
On Wednesday, the president-elect blasted out a series of tweets quoting Assange's Tuesday-night interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, a major Trump supporter, in which the WikiLeaks founder parroted much of Trump's rhetoric criticizing media outlets.
"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.
The president-elect then blamed the Democratic National Committee for failing to block hackers and claimed that the DNC had not addressed the content of some leaked emails, though several top figures at the organization resigned after emails emerged showing several offering criticism of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was running against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries.
Since reports emerged that intelligence agencies found substantial evidence that Russia meddled in the US election, Trump has steadfastly continued to cast doubt over the credibility of US intelligence officials on the subject.
The comments came just hours after Trump mocked US intelligence agencies, which he said postponed a private intelligence briefing now scheduled for Friday on the subject of the Russian hacks.
The "Intelligence" briefing on so-called "Russian hacking" was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2017
While Trump offered some of the highest-profile affirmation of Assange's worldview, other American lawmakers continue to slam the WikiLeaks founder.
Speaking with radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday, House Speaker Paul Ryan dismissed Trump's tweets but called Assange a "syncophant for Russia," a likely allusion to Assange's dismissal of WikiLeaks' need to find and distribute internal Russian communications.
President Barack Obama continues to ramp up pressure on Russia in the waning days of his administration.
Last week, Obama issued new sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies and booted numerous diplomats and their families from the US.
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