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president donald trump lashes out at news media, intelligence agencies in a twitter flurry over leaks

president donald trump lashes out at news media, intelligence agencies in a twitter flurry over leaks News Article With The full text news and with Resource Link at the bottom of the text and you can View this News Article in the source page.

president donald trump lashes out at news media, intelligence agencies in a twitter flurry over leaks

washington/moscow: president donald trump lashed out at the nation's intelligence agencies again on wednesday, accusing them of illegally leaking information to the news media, on a day of fresh disclosures about his dealings with russia during and after the presidential campaign.

he also defended his former national security advisor michael flynn in a press conference, saying he had been treated "very unfairly".

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trump knew of flynn's calls with russia

us president donald trump knew for weeks that national security adviser michael flynn had misled the white house about his contacts with russia but did not immediately force him out, white house spokesman sean spicer said.

"general flynn is a wonderful man, he has been treated very, very unfairly, by the media - as i call it, the fake media," the president said during a press conference with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu.

"i think it's really a sad thing that he was treated very badly... from intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked. it's criminal action, criminal act."

"people are trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the democrats had under hillary clinton."

the comments echoed a fusillade of angry, early-morning tweets, by president trump, which revived his charge that the allegations of a "russian connection" were nothing more than a democratic conspiracy, fed to a receptive news media to distract from the mistakes made by mrs clinton during the campaign.


"the real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by 'intelligence' like candy. very un-american!" he posted at 8.13am.

"this russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in hillary clinton's losing campaign," he posted on twitter shortly after 7am.

minutes later, he added, "information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (nsa and fbi?). just like russia"

the new york times and the washington post both reported on the contacts between a russian diplomat and general flynn, who resigned as national security adviser on monday night after acknowledging he had misled vice president mike pence and other officials about the discussions.

the times on wednesday disclosed broader contacts between russian intelligence officials and people with ties to the trump campaign and mr trump's business empire during and after the campaign.

the white house has tried, with little success, to shift the narrative from the nature of those contacts to accusations about the leaking of sensitive information by the intelligence agencies, as well as by the fbi.

mr trump used a similar strategy during the transition, following disclosures that the intelligence agencies presented him with a dossier containing potentially compromising - but unsubstantiated - information that russian officials had collected on him during his travels to russia.

on wednesday, mr trump said on twitter, "the fake news media is going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred. @msnbc & @cnn are unwatchable. @foxandfriends is great!"

the president also praised a column by eli lake of the bloomberg view, which criticised the selective leaking of intercepted communications between general flynn and russia's ambassador to washington, sergei kislyak. lake went on to suggest, however, that general flynn had been sacrificed to protect other officials, potentially including the president himself.

mr trump, as he has before, rejected allegations that his policy toward russia was being compromised.

"crimea was taken by russia during the obama administration. was obama too soft on russia?" he posted on twitter.

officials told the times on wednesday that one of the trump campaign advisers they detected speaking to russians was the president's former campaign manager paul manafort.

mr manafort told nbc on wednesday that he didn't think it was possible he had spoken to russian intelligence officials. 

"i had no contact knowingly with russian intelligence officials," he said. "i don't think it's possible i could have even inadvertently had discussions with russian officials. it's not like they wear badges. the story is not true."

kremlin casts doubt on times story

russia dismissed the new reports, with the kremlin's spokesman, dmitri s. peskov, saying that the times article and one published by cnn were "not based on facts and do not indicate any specific facts, either."

the statement from mr peskov was more foggy than the usual flat denial from the kremlin, but it followed on the heels of an embarrassing episode. on friday, mr peskov denied outright that michael t. flynn had discussed sanctions with the russian ambassador to washington. but by monday, of course, general flynn admitted that he had.

unlike the trump administration, russian officials never disputed that there were ties between trump's circle and russian officials. two days after the november 8 election, sergei a. ryabkov, russia's deputy foreign minister, said "there were contacts" during the campaign between russian officials and trump's team. trump transition officials denied that assertion.

mr peskov did not directly dispute the times article - or a cnn article that found that "high-level advisers close to then-presidential nominee donald trump were in constant communication during the campaign with russians known to u.s. intelligence" - but he suggested that the truth was hard to discern.

"let's not trust newspaper articles, because it is very difficult to differentiate between what is true and what is fake," mr peskov was quoted by the russian news agency interfax as saying. "there are references to five sources, but not a single is named."

in fact, the times quoted four current or former intelligence officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the information is classified.

while criticising the times' sourcing, mr peskov stopped short of denying the essence of the report.

"perhaps there is some information, who these people are, when it happened," mr peskov said. "maybe the time will come and somebody will tell about it openly, let's wait for this time."

vladimir m. dzhabarov, first deputy chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the upper house of parliament, told the state-owned news agency ria novosti that the leaks in the united states could harm mr trump.

the new york times, fairfax