(WASHINGTON) — The classified report requested by President Barack Obama detailing Russia’s alleged role in cyberattacks during U.S. presidential elections dating back to 2008 is now complete, and the president is expected to receive the first briefing on its findings on Thursday afternoon, U.S. officials tell ABC News.
President-elect Donald Trump, who said last week he would receive his briefing on the matter on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week, is scheduled to receive his briefing on Friday. Both briefings will be conducted by the heads of relevant agencies, including the Director of National Intelligence, the National Security Agency, the FBI and the CIA.
U.S. officials denied claims from Trump that his special briefing was delayed so the U.S. Intelligence Community could strengthen its case against Russia. Officials instead suggested there may have been a scheduling disconnect or some confusion on part of the Trump transition team.
Officials familiar with the report say an unclassified version of its findings is not expected to made public until Monday, the same day Congress gets its classified briefing. Although the unclassified version will be far less revealing, pushing the public findings into next week will likely prolong the ugly spat between Trump, Democrats and the Intelligence Community over who is responsible for the cyberattacks.
In recent weeks, Trump has repeatedly questioned the conclusions of the Intelligence Community, which on Oct. 7 stated publicly that it is “confident” Russia directed hacks of political organizations during the 2016 presidential election.
In doubting the claims, Trump referenced the Intelligence Community’s false conclusions about the existence of weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to the Iraq War, and he has taken WikiLeaks founder and fugitive computer activist Julian Assange at his word that the Russians were not the source of his data leaks.
“I know a lot about hacking,” Trump said at his Mar-a-Lago estate Monday. “And hacking is a very hard thing to prove. So it could be somebody else. And I also know things that other people don’t know, and so they cannot be sure of the situation,” he said, apparently referencing the Intelligence Community.
On Thursday, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, is set to hold a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee with testimony from the DNI and NSA, neither of which is expected to comment at length on the new report before the president is briefed.
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