Sen. Lindsey Graham said Wednesday he hopes President-elect Donald Trump will trust the U.S. intelligence community over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, saying Mr. Trump should “ignore” and “condemn” Mr. Assange.
“Don’t listen to Julian Assange on anything,” Mr. Graham said on CNN. “In Julian Assange world, we’re the bad guys — not the Iranians, not the Russians, not the North Koreans.”
Mr. Graham said WikiLeaks released classified information during the Iraq War the military said put soldiers at risk, for example.
“I hope the president-elect will get his information and trust the American patriots who work in the intelligence community who swear oath and allegiance to the Constitution, and not some guy hiding from the law who has a record of undercutting and undermining American democracy,” said Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican.
Mr. Assange reiterated in an interview this week with Fox News’ Sean Hannity that Russia was not WikiLeaks’ source for the internal emails from Democratic officials his group released during the presidential campaign.
Mr. Trump promoted part of the interview on Wednesday and asked why Democratic officials were so “careless.”
Mr. Graham did say he encourages Mr. Trump to be doubtful and ask hard questions of intelligence officials. Mr. Trump is slated to get a briefing Friday on Russia.
Incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday Mr. Trump is looking forward to the planned briefing from intelligence officials.
Mr. Spicer said CIA Director John O. Brennan, FBI Director James B. Comey, and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper “intend” to be present at the meeting.
“Not only should he ignore Julian Assange, he should condemn him for what he’s done to our country,” Mr. Graham said.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence said earlier in the day that Mr. Trump has expressed “his very sincere and healthy American skepticism about intelligence conclusions.”
“I think given some of the intelligence failures of recent years, [the] president-elect’s made it clear to the American people that he’s skeptical about conclusions from the bureaucracy, and I think the American people hear him loud and clear,” Mr. Pence said.
Recent reports citing anonymous sources have said the CIA concluded Russia actively intervened in the election through the email hacks in order to boost Mr. Trump’s chances against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
But Mr. Trump has repeatedly questioned whether Russia was even involved at all in the embarrassing leaks. The intelligence community issued a statement in October saying Russia was behind the hacks and was getting involved to disrupt the U.S. election, but the statement didn’t go as far as saying they were doing it to help Mr. Trump.