Conway: Trump ‘Fully Briefed’ Before Talking To World Leaders


CNN’s Anderson Cooper probed Friday night for a weak spot in President-elect Donald Trump’s preparation for a 10-minute phone call with Taiwan’s leader, but Trump aide Kellyanne Conway shut Cooper down.

Trump spoke Friday with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen. The U.S. ended diplomatic relations with Taiwan in 1979, when it assumed ties with China.

China officially believes Taiwan — which was the refuge of the former Nationalist government when Chinese communists took power in 1948 — is a part of China and not a separate nation. China filed a formal protest over the call.

Cooper, calling the conversation “uncharted waters,” referenced a tweet from Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., that included the phrase, “That’s how wars start.”

Conway said the tweet, which she labeled part of the “doctrinaire Democratic response” to Trump’s election, was more provocative than Trump’s call, the details of which she would not divulge.

“It sounds like Sen. Murphy’s tweet is pretty incendiary,” Conway said. “’This is how wars start.’ And it’s a major policy shift because he had a phone call? That’s pretty negative and pretty presumptuous.”

Cooper asked repeatedly whether Trump was briefed by the State Department.

Conway said Trump has “access” to State Department materials and intelligence briefings.

“Does he use it?” Cooper asked.

“Of course,” Conway retorted.

“He’s the busiest guy on the planet,” she said, noting that Trump has spoken to 45-50 world leaders. “He takes information that is given to him … he avails himself of information sources including the State Department and intelligence briefings.”

Cooper, reflecting the reaction from China and the White House that the call was improper, asked whether Trump cleared his calls with the State Department before making them.

“I don’t remember any of these questions ever being asked about President Obama or President-elect Obama,” Conway said. “As president-elect I’m pretty sure pretty sure President-elect Obama spoke to world leaders, I can’t imagine that anyone asked if he was properly and fully briefed.

“President-elect Trump is fully briefed and fully knowledgeable about these issues on an ongoing basis regardless of who is on the other end of the phone,” Conway said.

Conway reminded Cooper that Trump, although president-elect, is still a private citizen. She said he is having “private conversations” and “not trying to make policy and make waves until he is the president in six and a half weeks.”

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