US President Donald Trump has denied feuding with the CIA, in an attempt to mend fences with the intelligence community.
As part of his first presidential duties, Trump visited the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Virginia on Saturday – a day after his inauguration – and told officers that reports of a feud were false.
“I am with you 1,000 percent,” Trump told more than 300 CIA employees after his visit.
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He also said that he had confidence in the intelligence community and great respect for the agency.
“Very, very few people could do the job you people do and I want you to know I am so behind you,” he said.
He added: “I love you, I respect you, there’s nobody I respect more than CIA staff.”
The meeting followed Trump’s repeated and sharp public criticism of US intelligence agencies before and after the election.
He challenged and, at times, criticised their conclusions that Russia influenced the November 8 election in his favour.
Michael Morell, a former CIA deputy director, had said that a visit by Trump to the CIA would be “an important and positive gesture”.
“The real test of the relationship between the president and his most important intelligence agency, though, will depend on how open he is to what the CIA has to say about what is happening in the world,” he said.
Trump denied claims that the inaugural turnout was lower than expected.
He took issue with television shots and photos of crowds that had gathered for his swearing-in ceremony, suggesting that they were misleading and showed fewer people present than actually attended.