Monday, January 9, 2017
We Hope Trump Reamed Out Those Giving Him His Intel Briefing!
Gingrich: Trump should be 'skeptical' and angry during intel briefing
Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and vocal Donald Trump ally, said Friday that the president-elect should be “both skeptical and frankly pretty angry” when he is briefed on the intelligence community’s new report on suspected Russian attempts to influence the election.
Joining Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway in criticizing the leak of details from the report to the news media prior to Trump’s scheduled briefing, Gingrich described the lead-up as a “mess” and wondered aloud, like Trump has before, if intelligence agencies are playing politics.
“The president applied sanctions to Russia a week before the report,” Gingrich said on Fox News. “The report gets to NBC before it gets to Donald Trump? I mean, what the devil is going on here? To what degree is this a political charade to allow Democrats to blame the Russians rather than Hillary for her defeat?”
“The whole thing is a mess,” he concluded.
Intelligence officials and outside experts have agreed since at least October that Russian hackers were behind cyberattacks on Democratic Party officials before the election. The hacks, which resulted in thousands of private emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign being published on the website WikiLeaks, embarrassed Clinton repeatedly.
Trump, though, has refused to accept the intelligence community’s conclusion that the Russians attempted to disrupt the election through the hacks, despite offering no evidence to the contrary, and he has especially rejected the conclusion that the Russians tried to help elect him specifically.
His resistance to the intelligence has angered his critics and even some Republicans who are dismayed by his friendliness to Russia, considered by most lawmakers to be a major adversary, and what they see as a disrespect of intelligence officials.
Trump agreed to be briefed on the most recent review of the hacking, put together at the direction of President Barack Obama last month. Intelligence officials testified on the report Thursday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Ahead of his briefing, though, Trump has continued to cast doubt on the report’s conclusions, taking aim at the leaks to news organizations in particular.
“How did NBC get ‘an exclusive look into the top secret report he (Obama) was presented?’” Trump tweeted on Thursday. “Who gave them this report and why? Politics!”
Gingrich sided with Trump on that point. He also questioned the merits of airing details of the intelligence in public through the hearing in the Senate.
“I think this whole thing is a total mess and people should be embarrassed about it,” Gingrich said. “It's a sign of how far our understanding of intelligence operations has decayed. We used to run intelligence operations that were truly secret … Nowadays the whole thing is a circus.”