Banks: Trump Russia memo as fake as play money you buy at a toy store, former CIA analyst says

Airing on CNBC “Power Lunch”

President-elect Donald Trump called the unverified allegations about Russian information gathering on him “fake news” on Wednesday, and one former CIA analyst is backing him up.

The 35-page document, published by BuzzFeed on Tuesday evening, contains explosive allegations of his ties to Russia, as well as accusations of salacious activities.

“As a former CIA analyst, I can say with complete confidence … that those leaked memos are as fake as the play money you would buy at a toy store,” George David Banks said in an interview with “Power Lunch” on Wednesday.

Banks, who is now executive vice president of the American Council for Capital Formation, didn’t go into further details on why he came to that conclusion.

However, if one were to assume it was real, it would show that “Russian counterintelligence is in total disarray,” he pointed out.

During his first postelection news conference on Wednesday, Trump blasted BuzzFeed as a “failing pile of garbage” and said the online media outlet “will suffer the consequences.”

The Russian government on Wednesday called the report a “total hoax.”

Tuesday evening, BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith tweeted an email he said to his staff that said, in part, that the site decided to publish the dossier so that Americans can make up their own minds. On Wednesday, BuzzFeed told CNBC it stands by its decision.

On Tuesday, NBC News reported that sources said briefing materials prepared for President-elect Donald Trump included damaging allegations about his dealings with Russians. The information was initially circulated among Trump opponents before being passed to U.S. intelligence agencies, according to NBC News.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal is a minority investor in BuzzFeed.

— CNBC’s Matthew Belvedere contributed to this report.

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George David Banks
George David Banks is Executive Vice President at the American Council for Capital Formation. He is an economist, political consultant, and policy advocate, focusing on energy, environment, and trade. Banks has published reports and opinion editorials on a variety of policy issues, including climate change, civil nuclear power, and energy markets and trade. He is also a fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy and a member of the ClearPath Foundation’s advisory board. Most recently, he served as President Donald Trump’s Special Assistant for International Energy and Environment at the National Economic and National Security Councils – a position that required him to manage workstreams related to his portfolio across the federal government.