Donald Trump says he's not endorsing Julian Assange's defense of the Russians — he's only repeating what the founder of WikiLeaks is saying.
"The dishonest media likes saying that I am in Agreement with Julian Assange - wrong," Trump tweeted Thursday. "I simply state what he states."
Trump also disputed the notion that he has been critical of the U.S. intelligence community: "It is for the people to make up their own minds as to the truth. The media lies to make it look like I am against 'Intelligence' when in fact I am a big fan!"
Trump's latest came a day after he tweeted about Assange denying that the Russians gave him hacked emails from Democratic Party officials during last year's election, including Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Trump wrote: "Julian Assange said 'a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta' - why was DNC so careless? Also said Russians did not give him the info!"
Trump, who has long questioned whether Russia engaged in cyber-espionage during the election, is scheduled to receive a special briefing on the case Friday.
The U.S. intelligence community, the Obama administration, and lawmakers from both parties have accused the Russians of engineering the hacks of Democratic Party officials, perhaps in an effort to help Trump win the election.
Critics said Trump's initial Assange tweet showed disrespect for intelligence officials who have investigated Russian activity.
"This is a very troubling tendency by Mr. Trump," said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., speaking on MSNBC.
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