President-elect Donald Trump’s spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway criticized intelligence officials Tuesday night, after published reports that they had relayed information Russia could theoretically use to blackmail the president-elect; Conway called the allegations “fake news” that had not been confirmed.
Conway told Seth Meyers on “Late Night” that Trump “said he’s not aware” of being briefed on reports that Russia had compromising information on him, despite a CNN report earlier that day saying he and President Barack Obama had both been presented with the information.
“We should be concerned that intelligence officials leak to the press and won’t go and tell the president-elect or the president of the United States himself now, Mr. Obama, what the information is,” Conway said Tuesday. “They’d rather go tell the press.”
CNN reported Tuesday that Trump and Obama had been both been given a two-page synopsis on the allegations, and that the information came in part from a former British intelligence officer whose “past work US intelligence officials consider credible.” The FBI was in the process of determining how accurate the allegations might be, the network and other outlets reported.
But a senior intelligence official told NBC News that though the summary had been included in the briefers’ documents, the briefing was verbal and “no actual documents were handed to the Trump team.”
Conway said Tuesday that no one had verified the sourcing of the report: “They’re all unnamed, unspoken sources in the story.”
“It also says that groups that wanted Hillary Clinton to win may have been involved in the investigations themselves,” Conway continued. “And, most importantly, it says the FBI is trying to confirm it. So, nothing has been confirmed.”
CNN first aired information about the 35-page dossier, which BuzzFeed then published in full.
A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir V. Putin said early Wednesday in a news conference that “the Kremlin has no compromising dossier on Trump.”
“Such information isn’t consistent with reality and is nothing but an absolute fantasy,” spokesman Dmitri Peskov said.
Trump fired back at the reports Tuesday night, calling them “fake news” and “a total political witch hunt.”