Trump Contradicts Himself on Assange

President-elect says he’s a ‘big fan’ of ‘intelligence’

President-elect Donald Trump said he is not in agreement with WikiLeaks head Julian Assange but he has praised the organization in the past. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)
President-elect Donald Trump said he is not in agreement with WikiLeaks head Julian Assange but he has praised the organization in the past. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)
Posted January 5, 2017 at 10:21am

President-elect Donald Trump denied Thursday that he ever supported WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in two morning tweets.

Trump said the “dishonest media” is wrong in reporting that he agrees with Assange, adding that “the media lies to make it look like I am against ‘intelligence,’ when, in fact, I am a big fan.”

But those comments are in stark contrast to what he has said about Assange and the U.S. intelligence community’s findings that Russian agencies hacked Democratic Party officials and tried to influence the recent U.S. elections.

Trump has challenged those findings since news broke that numerous intelligence agencies concluded that Russia was behind the hacks.

During a brief moment with reporters on New Year’s Eve, Trump expressed skepticism about the intelligence community, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“I know a lot about hacking. And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don’t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation,” he said then.

In his first debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump said nobody knew whether Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee.

“I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China,” he said then. “It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?”

Similarly, after The Washington Post revealed the CIA assessment last month about Russia intervening in the election and providing WikiLeaks with hacked emails from the DNC, Trump challenged the CIA, saying it was previously wrong about the Iraq War.

“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” his transition team said in a statement at the time.

Throughout the election, Trump also frequently praised WikiLeaks on Twitter.

Trump’s statements come on the heels of many Republicans criticizing Assange. Texas GOP Rep. Will Hurd, who worked as an undercover CIA officer, said Assange is not a credible source.

“The same people who condemned Secretary Clinton for making sensitive and classified information vulnerable by using an unsecure server should be equally outraged that Assange continues to carelessly leak sensitive documents,” Hurd said in a statement.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Wednesday called Assange a “sycophant” for Russia in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

The House Armed Services Committee was holding hearings on Thursday about President Barack Obama’s reaction to the hacks. Last week, the administration expelled 35 Russian officials from the country and placed sanctions on two Russian intelligence services, four intelligence officers and three companies that provide support to Russian cyber operations..