As the feud between Donald Trump and top officials in the U.S. intelligence community continued to heat up on Thursday, former CIA Director James Woolsey announced that he was stepping down from the president-elect’s transition team, “effective immediately.”
Tweet via CNN’s Jeremy Diamond:
Wow. Former CIA director James Woolsey splits with Trump transition: pic.twitter.com/6C2KXHeUz4
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) January 5, 2017
In a statement, Woolsey’s spokesman said, “Effective immediately, Ambassador Woolsey is no longer a Senior Advisor to President-Elect Trump or the Transition. He wishes the President-Elect and his Administration great success in their time in office.”
Aside from the fact that Trump has been trashing the intelligence community and defending Russia over its election meddling, there was apparently another major reason for Woolsey’s departure.
Tweet via Washington Post’s Phillip Rucker:
James Woolsey has resigned from Trump transition. Sources say he was cut out of intel talks w/ Trump & Flynn, grew uncomfortable. Story TK
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) January 5, 2017
As Business Insider noted on Thursday, there was likely an added level of tension between Woolsey and Trump after the former CIA head told CNN last week that Trump was “playing” the country when it comes to his rhetoric on Russia.
Other officials in the intelligence community have expressed their disappointment with Trump’s recent comments about their agencies.
At a congressional hearing on Thursday, National Intelligence Director James Clapper said that while it’s appropriate to hold these government agencies accountable, Trump is taking it a bridge too far.
“There’s a difference between skepticism and disparagement,” Clapper said.
With two weeks until Trump is sworn in, it looks like the relationship between the next commander-in-chief and the intelligence apparatus he’ll be in charge of leading is already in need of major repairs.