Former White House chiefs of staff on Trump doubting U.S. intelligence

Former chiefs of staff

As President-elect Donald Trump continues to cast doubt on U.S. intelligence community’s assessment of Russia meddling in U.S. elections with cyberattacks, two former White House chiefs of staff are speaking out.

“I don’t mind questioning the intelligence community and challenging them, but you don’t want to demoralize them,” Andrew Card, who served under President George W. Bush, said on “CBS This Morning.” “You don’t want to diminish their ability to do their jobs. They’re professionals and they work very, very hard, and they’re diverse. It’s not monolithic thinking in the intelligence community.”

Intelligence source confirmed to CBS News that Russia not only tried to influence the 2016 presidential election, but also favored Mr. Trump over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. An intelligence briefing for Mr. Trump on Russia’s involvement is expected for Friday

On Wednesday, President-elect Trump tweeted: “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!”

Bill Daley, who was President Obama’s chief of staff from 2011 to 2012 and commerce secretary under President Bill Clinton, said Mr. Trump’s comment referencing the WikiLeaks founder was “crazy.”

“Here’s a man who’s hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy because he’s wanted in Sweden on a sexual charge against young women,” Daley said. “So the fact that the president-elect even mentions his name vis-à-vis a discussion where he’s implying that maybe our national security people aren’t as competent as Julian Assange in figuring out who hacked or how it was hacked is truly outrageous.” 

Card also addressed Mr. Trump’s tendency to tweet out his thoughts and criticisms. 

“He has a phenomenal relationship with the American people, and it’s a direct relationship, something we haven’t seen in other presidents,” Card said.

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“I think the tweet world is going to be our world for a long time,” Card said.

Asked what he would say if he were advising the president-elect, Card said, “Taste your words before you spit them out.”

“Everything that you utter as president has a consequence someplace in America or the world, and respect the most valuable resource you have, which is time. And you’re going to be making the only toughest decisions as president – don’t try to make every government decision,” Card said.

Similarly, Daley said he would tell Mr. Trump, “Think before you tweet or speak.”

“It’s not like a campaign. Sixteen days from now is a very different thing, and so far I would say it doesn’t look like people get the fact that it’s going to be different,” Daley said. “They’re going to try to continue this sort of campaign, in my opinion, craziness going forward.”