Senior Republicans have spoken out against President – elect Donald Trump’s comments favouring Julian Assange over U.S Intelligence. Assange, founder of Wikileaks, published a series of hacked emails showing the Democratic Party were helping Hilary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders through passing debate questions to her before the debate was broadcast.
The House Speaker, Paul Ryan, speaking on a Republican supporting radio show that he had “a lot more faith in our intelligence officers serving around the world … than I do in people like Julian Assange”. Ryan went on to say that he was a “sycophant for Russia.”
Trump has maintained his belief that the Russians did not hack the Democratic National Committee or the campaign chairman, John Podesta.
In a series of tweets, he wrote, “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!”
Another tweet cited Assange who described American media coverage as “very dishonest”. Trump added: “More dishonest than anyone knows.”
Assange is under criminal investigation for publishing classified U.S documents on Wikileaks. Many in America considered this an act of aggression.
In an interview, Assange denied that Russia was the source of the hack.
Sean Spicer, president elect’s spokesman, said Trump “was stating what Assange is stating publicly and looking forward to [a forthcoming intelligence] briefing to discuss all of these matters.”
Earlier, Trump had tweeted that he was surprised by a delay to an intelligence meeting. The reason cited was to enable them to prepare a case. The delay was subsequently denied by officials who said the briefing was scheduled to take place in a few days.
Assange had gained one ally in all of this, one Sarah Palin. She has changed her mind from treating him like the Taliban to a kind of hero. Writing on Facebook, she said, “The media collusion that hid what many on the Left have been supporting is shocking. This important information that finally opened people’s eyes to democrat candidates and operatives would not have been exposed were it not for Julian Assange.”
Trump’s tweets have been described as adversarial by some Republicans.