Trump mocks 'intelligence' officials for briefing delay

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WASHINGTON (NBC) -- The president-elect took another swipe on Tuesday at the intelligence community that will be under his command in just a few weeks, once again in a tweet.

SOURCE: Gage Skidmore / MGN

Last week Donald Trump had said he would meet with high-level intel briefers this week to hear more about Russian hacking of the U.S. election.

Trump antagonized the intelligence community over the weekend, telling reporters gathered outside his New Year's Eve party that hacking is a "very hard thing to prove" and that he knows "things that other people don't know, and so [intelligence officials] cannot be sure of the situation." Trump promised to reveal what he proclaims to know Tuesday or Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, "The 'Intelligence' briefing on so-called 'Russian hacking' was delayed until Friday, perhaps more time needed to build a case. Very strange!"

The "scare quotes" around the words intelligence and Russian hacking seem to reflect Trump's previously stated position that it's nearly impossible to know who hacked what and when — although intelligence experts both inside and outside of the government dispute that claim.

CIA Director John Brennan told PBS Newshour Tuesday that his report on Russian hacking was in the "final throes" and would be delivered to President Obama in days.

Also, a senior U.S. intelligence official with direct knowledge of the situation told NBC News Tuesday night that the heads of the NSA, CIA, FBI and the director of national intelligence were always scheduled to meet with Trump on Friday. Another official had previously told NBC News that the briefing was scheduled for Wednesday, but that was apparently wrong.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the new top Democrat in the Senate, said on MSNBC Tuesday night that Trump was being "really dumb" in taking on the U.S. intelligence community.

"You take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday to get back at you," he told Rachel Maddow on her show.

A senior intelligence official called Trump's tweet disturbing and "adversarial," telling NBC News: "He's calling out the men and women of the intelligence community the way he called out Lockheed and Boeing, but these are public servants."

Meanwhile, Trump earlier Tuesday tweeted that he would be holding his first news conference in over five months. The Jan. 11 date is a reschedule from when Trump had promised to hold a press conference in late December, but didn't. The last time Trump held a pre-scheduled open media availability was on July 27, 2016.



 
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