Speed Reads


Trump security adviser tells CNN there's no point listening to 'ne'er-do-well' Julian Assange

On Tuesday night, Sean Hannity interviewed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Fox News, and on Wednesday morning, President-elect Donald Trump endorsed Assange's suggesting that Russia didn't supply him with "the info," presumably meaning the DNC emails and Clinton campaign emails that the U.S. intelligence community says Russia hacked to influence the election. On CNN Wednesday night, Don Lemon asked former CIA director James Woolsey, a Trump security adviser, why Trump is siding with Russia and Assange over the entire U.S. intelligence community and senior members of his own party.

Woolsey said he doesn't "see it as signing up with Assange" or any other point of view, adding: "I think he's been skeptical for some time of the intelligence community, and he's said some fairly tough things. But, you know, they're going to have to get used to working for a new boss." Woolsey said he believes the intelligence agencies were ready to work for Hillary Clinton but weren't prepared to work for Trump, and when Lemon asked him if he thinks the intelligence community is wrong about Russian hacking and election interference, Woolsey said "certainly there has been some vigorous Russian activity — I think there's no doubt about that — but the key thing is, did it have, or have a chance to have, any impact on the vote counting, on the voting machines?"

Lemon suggested that wasn't the key thing for the U.S. intelligence community, then asked Kirsten Powers what she makes of all this. She asked Woolsey, "You were a former CIA director — would you have listened to Julian Assange, or would you have listened to your intelligence officials at the CIA?" "I don't think there's any point in listening to Julian Assange," Woolsey said. "He's quite a ne'er-do-well, I think." So unlike Trump, Powers clarified, "you would listen to the CIA analysts over Julian Assange?" "Well, I don't think I have to pick only the CIA analysts," Woolsey said. "There are lots of people I would listen to with respect to something like this," naming an analyst at the conservative American Enterprise Institute who wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. "You would listen to someone from AEI over CIA analysts?" Powers pressed, and Woolsey rejected the premise: "I would listen to someone who, as I think, is making a cogent point and doing it with good evidence." Watch below. Peter Weber