Russian Hacking: Donald Trump Backs Julian Assange
Donald Trump has backed Julian Assange in casting doubt on intelligence alleging Russian hacking the US election.
The WikiLeaks founder said Russia was not the source for the site’s mass leak of emails from the Democratic Party.
The president-elect has now backed that view in a tweet, writting: “Assange… said Russians did not give him the info!”
Donald Trump has repeatedly refused to accept the conclusions of the US intelligence community.
Several US agencies including the FBI and the CIA believe Russia directed hacks against the Democratic Party and the campaign of its presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The information, released through WikiLeaks and other outlets, was intended to help Donald Trump win the election, say the FBI and CIA.
On January 3, Donald Trump said an intelligence briefing he was due to receive on the issue had been delayed.
“Perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!” he wrote.
However, intelligence officials insisted there had been no delay in the briefing schedule.
In an interview with Fox News, Julian Assange repeated his claim that Russia was not behind the leak.
He also said a 14-year-old boy could have carried out one of the hacks, on the email account of Hillary Clinton’s aide, John Podesta.
In 2010, several leading Republican figures were calling for Julian Assange to be imprisoned after his website published thousands of embarrassing diplomatic cables leaked by former Army Pte. Chelsea Manning.
Donald Trump tweeted twice on January 4 in support of what Julian Assange said on Fox News.
However, the president-elect has previously been critical of the WikiLeaks organization.
When asked by a Fox News reporter in 2010 to comment on leaks, Donald Trump responded: “I think it’s disgraceful, I think there should be like death penalty or something.”