President-elect Donald Trump criticized U.S. intelligence officials during a Fox News interview for their role in compiling a memo that suggested Russia might have compromising information on him.
In the interview, aired Wednesday morning on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends,” Trump backed away from a suggestion on Twitter this week that CIA Director John Brennan might have leaked the salacious allegations about him to the media, saying he accepted Brennan’s denial. “But it came out of someplace,” Trump told host Ainsley Earhardt at the Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday. “And it’s fake news. It’s all fake news.”
“They should not have been a part of it,” Trump said. “Because it’s made up. Never existed. Never happened. And the reason I say that so strongly because nothing’s ever going to show up. There’s never going to be a tape that shows up. There’s never going to be anything that shows up.”
Trump added that he would be “very embarrassed if a tape actually showed up saying something like that. It would be double embarrassed, because I’m saying there is no tape, there is no tape. There was no event.”
Trump was referring to allegations in a 35-page dossier packed with details of supposed compromising personal information and alleged financial entanglements. A two-page summary was attached to a report on alleged Russian election interference commissioned by the White House and presented to President Obama and Trump earlier this month.
U.S. intelligence officials say they had not substantiated the allegations, which were drawn from “opposition research” done by a political research firm.
“They made stuff up, and it started with the Republican Party when they tried to beat me in the nomination, and then … the Democrats took over that work supposedly, and by the intelligence giving it credence, a little bit of credence, by just even talking about it, it was very inappropriate,” Trump said. “So I don’t who the leaker was, I have no idea, but it’s fake news.”