WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Tuesday said that neither the Russian government, nor anybody associated with the country, provided the website with emails hacked from Hillary Clinton’s campaign or the Democratic National Committee.
Now, President-elect Donald Trump thinks the "intelligence" briefing delay on "Russian hacking" is "very strange."
Trump suggested in a tweet Tuesday night that the delay was to give the intelligence community more time to "build a case."
The implication confused many intelligence officials, who said that there was no delay and that the briefing had been originally scheduled for Friday, according to the Associated Press.
On Thursday, Trump responded to reports that he is in "agreement with Julian Assange," saying that that was "wrong. He said that he was simply putting information out there and letting the people "make up their own minds."
He also said that he is not against US intelligence and is actually a "big fan" of the intelligence community.
In the months leading up to and following the election, the Obama administration has accused Russia of facilitating the hacking in order to influence the outcome of the election.
In an interview on Fox News’ Hannity that was filmed at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, anchor Sean Hannity asked Assange if the Russian government or anybody affiliated with it gave WikiLeaks emails.
“Our source is not a state party,” Assange said. “The answer, for our interactions, is no.”
He also emphasized the ease with which former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails could have been hacked, given how open he had been with his password information.
“There’s a number of hacks [of] the DNC and Podesta — based on the publicly available information because it’s not coming from our sources — we published as part of our policy of full disclosure and not interfering with the material,” Assange said. “We published several Podesta emails which shows Podesta responding to a phishing email,” Assange said.
“Now, how did they respond? Podesta gave out that his password was the word ‘password.’ His own staff said, ‘This email you’ve received? This is totally legitimate,’” he said.
“This is something that a 14-year-old, a 14-year-old kid could have hacked,” he said.
On Wednesday, Vice President-elect Mike Pence said that Trump "has expressed his very sincere and healthy American skepticism about intelligence conclusions."
He added that "given some of the intelligence failures of recent years, the President elect made it clear to the American people that he is skeptical about conclusions."
When asked whether he considered Assange a credible source, Pence did not answer and moved on to the next question.
Kellyanne Conway, the president-elect's incoming White House counselor, said on CNBC Tuesday night that people "should pay significant attention to that because [Assange] knows the source of the emails that he received."
Trump responded Wednesday morning with a tweet asking why the DNC could be so "careless."
Watch Assange's full interview on Hannity here.
Tamerra Griffin is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tamerra Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alexis Levinson is a reporter with BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
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