WASHINGTON – President-elect Donald Trump said Thursday that National Intelligence Director James Clapper called the report that Russia has compromising information on the magnate and could use it to try and blackmail him in the White House “false” and “fictitious.”
“James Clapper called me yesterday to denounce the false and fictitious report that was illegally circulated,” Trump said on Twitter. “Made up, phony facts. Too bad!”
Meanwhile, Clapper on Wednesday evening issued a statement about his conversation with Trump in which he confirmed that he told the president-elect of his “profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press, and we both agreed that they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security.”
However, in contrast to Trump’s assertion, Clapper said the intelligence community has not determined whether the report is reliable, and he did not call it “false” or “fictitious.”
“The IC has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions,” he said.
The report, prepared by a former British spy and published by the BuzzFeed Web site, details alleged contacts between Trump’s team and the Kremlin, Russian spying on Trump and the possibility that that information could be used to blackmail him during his presidency.
The information in the dossier published by BuzzFeed cites sources that say that members of Trump’s team met with representatives of the Russian government.
Those sources also say that they have proof of the magnate meeting with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel where Russian intelligence operatives had allegedly installed cameras and microphones.
The president-elect’s office has categorically denied the content and the truth of that report.
And on Wednesday, Trump – in his first press conference in more than five months – harshly criticized the media who published the information, including BuzzFeed and CNN, and said it was “disgraceful” that the document had ever come to light.
BuzzFeed is a “failing pile of garbage,” Trump said, adding that CNN is “fake news” for giving more importance to the accusations of deals with Russia than such reports deserve.
CNN did not reveal the content of the report and only reported that US intelligence services had apprised the president-elect of the risk of blackmail his government could be running in a two-page summary that certain senators have also seen.
In another tweet on Thursday, Trump once again attacked CNN after refusing to answer a question posed by one of the network’s reporters at the Wednesday press conference.
“@CNN is in a total meltdown with their FAKE NEWS because their ratings are tanking since election and their credibility will soon be gone!” Trump tweeted.