Donald Trump raised eyebrows by discussing what he’d learned in classified intelligence briefings during his Commander-in-Chief Forum appearance Wednesday night. The Republican presidential nominee told NBC’s Matt Lauer he had gleaned through “body language” that generals were “not happy” with President Obama’s decision-making. Now, NBC News is reporting that during the briefing Trump mentioned, things got a little tense after an adviser kept interrupting the briefers.
NBC News notes that one of Trump’s national security advisers, retired Army Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, “repeatedly interrupted the briefers until Chris Christie intervened.” During the intelligence briefing, which took place August 17, Flynn kept asking “pointed questions.” And at one point, according to an anonymous source, Christie “verbally restrained Flynn” by telling him to “shut up” and placing his hand on Flynn’s arm.
Trump had told Matt Lauer that the briefing was a positive one on his end, but he also made odd claims about President Obama: “What I did learn is that our leadership, Barack Obama, did not follow … what our experts said to do … And I was very, very surprised,” Trump said at the Commander-in-Chief Forum. “I could tell — I’m pretty good with body language — I could tell they were not happy.”
However, a U.S. official told NBC that “intelligence officers don’t give policy advice, so it would be inaccurate to say that Obama failed to follow the advice of the intelligence community.” Another official assured the network that intelligence analysts are trained to not let their body language betray their biases.
On Thursday, Hillary Clinton responded to Trump’s comments, stating that he acted “totally inappropriate and undisciplined” by discussing a classified intelligence briefing. The Democratic presidential nominee told reporters she would “never” comment on what happened during a classified briefing.
UPDATE: Flynn has issued a response to NBC’s Hallie Jackson. He’s calling the story “total bullsh*t” and claims he was “hugging people” in the room while everyone shook hands.
(Via NBC News)