On the brink of holding an impromptu press conference, President Trump issued several tweets about the widening scandal in which members of the national security allegedly leaked intercepted telephone calls, including the president’s conversation with the president of Australia and the president of Mexico. Speaking at the White House on February 14, the president blamed illegal leaks for the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn over his contacts with Russia.
"I think it's really a sad thing that he was treated so badly," he said. "I think in addition to that from intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked, it's criminal action. It's a criminal act and it's been going on for a long time before me but now it's really going on."
Some members of the media have suggested that members of the National Security Council staff, or the National Security Agency, may be responsible for the leaks in an act of partisanship. The staff numbers approximately 350 personnel, many of whom are holdovers from the Obama administration. Republicans have long sought to cut the number down to size, but were unsuccessful throughout the last eight years.
Former national security advisor Flynn’s probable successor, retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward, is believed to be planning to make those personnel cuts. In his tweets,
Trump wrote, “Fake news media, which makes up stories and ‘sources,’ is far more effective than the discredited Democrats, but they are fading fast!” In another missive, Trump said that the “low-life leakers...will be caught!”
“Leaking,” said Trump, has been a “big problem” in Washington for years. He called for apologies from the New York Times. It was the New York Times and the Washington Post that shared the illegal leaks that have been blamed for Flynn’s political demise. Democrats and progressives denounced Flynn for his contacts with Russian diplomats before Trump’s inauguration, even though the FBI has found nothing incriminating.
FAKE NEWS media, which makes up stories and "sources," is far more effective than the discredited Democrats - but they are fading fast!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 16, 2017
The spotlight has finally been put on the low-life leakers! They will be caught!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 16, 2017
Leaking, and even illegal classified leaking, has been a big problem in Washington for years. Failing @nytimes (and others) must apologize!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 16, 2017