Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he has spoken with Donald Trump about the unsubstantiated report Wednesday claiming Russia had compromising personal and financial information about the president-elect.
Clapper said in a statement released Wednesday night that he told Trump the intelligence community “has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable.”
The dossier contains unproven information about close coordination between Trump’s inner circle and Russians over hacking into Democratic accounts as well as unproven claims of unusual sexual activities by Trump, among other suggestions attributed to anonymous sources. The Associated Press has not authenticated any of the claims.
Clapper also said he told Trump he does not believe any leaks from Friday’s meeting between intelligence officials and Trump came from the intelligence community.
The unsubstantiated dossier on Trump was compiled by a former Western intelligence operative as part of an opposition research project originally financed by a Republican client who opposed Trump, and later funded by Democrats, according to Mother Jones, which published an article about the report in October and said the operative had turned over the report to the FBI. The New York Times reported the operative had previously worked for British intelligence.
A US official said Tuesday that top intelligence officials last week briefed Trump about the document. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not allowed to publicly discuss the matter.
The briefing about the document was first reported by CNN. A summary of the allegations was separate from a classified assessment of Russia’s attempts to meddle in the US presidential election. Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on the intelligence community’s findings last week.
Trump has accused intelligence agencies of leaking the report. The president-elect likened it to the actions of Nazi Germany.
In his combative press conference Wednesday, Trump defiantly denied the reports on Russia, lambasting the media for peddling “fake news” and shouting down a journalist from CNN, which reported on the matter. His family and advisers clapped and cheered him on throughout.
Trump’s transition has been shadowed by US intelligence assessments that Russia not only meddled in the election, but did so to help him defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton. After spending weeks challenging that idea, Trump finally accepted at least part of the intelligence conclusions.
“As far as hacking, I think it was Russia,” Trump said, quickly adding that “other countries and other people” also hack US interests. Still, he kept needling the intelligence agencies, saying it would be a “tremendous blot” on their record if officials were leaking information from his classified briefings.
The White House said Trump is “deeply misguided” in his criticism of the intelligence community and its leaders.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said it’s “deeply misguided for anybody, at any level, to question the integrity and motives of the patriots” who supply the nation’s intelligence.