Tags: Donald Trump | Kellyanne Conway | James Clapper | intelligence | leaks

Kellyanne Conway: Trump 'Happy' to Hear Clapper Agrees on Leaks

NBC's "Today"

By    |   Thursday, 12 Jan 2017 09:18 AM

President-elect Donald Trump was "very happy" to hear from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Wednesday night, and to hear the Intel chief agrees there should be no leaks occurring, incoming presidential counsel Kellyanne Conway said Thursday.

"Why intelligence officials or other people are leaking to the media, rather than making sure that the president-elect and President [Barack] Obama himself, are briefed on sensitive information, I think is really the point here," Conway told NBC's "Today" anchor Matt Lauer, while refusing to comment about whether she herself believes a negative report alleging Trump's ties with Russia came from the intelligence community.

"What I believe doesn't matter," Conway said. "Here's what does matter: What matters is that the president-elect had a briefing by the four top intelligence officers in our nation last week. We were very happy to receive them here at Trump Tower and for the president-elect and vice president-elect to get that briefing. No sooner do they have that, people are leaking information."

Clapper, she continued, has emphasized the intelligence community is giving "no credibility and voracity to the fake news documents, and that's important here."

However, she did not answer directly whether Trump believes Clapper's comments.

"You'll have to ask him what he believes," Conway said. "What he believes is we are at a fraught time that we have leaks of sensitive information on political purposes. We agree, as do all Americans, that's dangerous stuff. Our hands are tied because we can't discuss private, sensitive information. And yet, others are doing it."

Conway also discussed Trump's plans for his businesses, saying Thursday "legal experts are happy with what he's doing," and he is making "enormous sacrifices. The holdings of this successful businessman, over decades is unprecedented for our presidency."

Trump, she said, will step away from all to do with the Trump Organization, but Lauer said Trump is making it sound "like his plan of avoiding conflict of interest is 'trust me.'"

"That's not fair at all," she told Lauer. "He had his lawyer up there yesterday. Anybody can pull the information. She read the whole statement publicly.

"Why always the presumptive negativity against Mr. Trump when he is trying to comply with the law and satisfy any ethics concerns that people have? He is making an enormous sacrifice here."

MSNBC chief legal correspondent Ari Melber, also on the program, said he does not think Conway was being accurate by saying people are being presumptively negative.

"I have never as a lawyer or a reporter, heard of a concept you would take something bad like a gift, and say you will accept it, process it, and donate it later," Melber said. "If it's bad, don't take it.

"If it's not bad, if that's their argument, this is normal business, fair market value, they shouldn't have to donate it in the first place. We don't know who Donald Trump owes. He comes to Washington owing no one."

Trump should release his tax returns and information about all outstanding debts, Melber continued, and he thinks Trump's plan to add an ethics adviser is "meaningless."

"This is a person that would be hired and fired by Donald Trump," Melber said. "The Office of Government Ethics does exist as a different layer, and there's lawyers at the Justice Department more independent. We're seeing not any collaboration with them, as past presidential administrations have done."

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Politics
President-elect Donald Trump was "very happy" to hear from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Wednesday night, and to hear the Intel chief agrees there should be no leaks occurring, incoming presidential counsel Kellyanne Conway said Thursday.
Kellyanne Conway, James Clapper, intelligence, leaks
563
2017-18-12
Thursday, 12 Jan 2017 09:18 AM
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