After nearly a week of eerie silence in which Trump ignored the topic of "leaks" to the press by various US agencies, most notably the FBI, in his first tweets of the day the president reverted to one of his biggest peeves in recent weeks, namely how the "enemy" press continues to get inside scoops into his administration, and tore into the Federal Bureau of Investigations, following a provocative report from CNN which cited "unnamed sources" according to whom the White House tried to urge the FBI to dispute accounts of regular contact between the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.
"The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security "leakers" that have permeated our government for a long time. They can't even find the leakers within the FBI itself. Classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect on U.S. FIND NOW" he tweeted moments ago.
The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security "leakers" that have permeated our government for a long time. They can't even......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2017
find the leakers within the FBI itself. Classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect on U.S. FIND NOW— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2017
The tweets come one day after the CNN reported that the FBI rejected a White House request to dispute media accounts of regular contact between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russian intelligence officials.
CNN reported Thursday, citing “multiple U.S. officials briefed on the matter,” that the FBI declined to publicly corroborate Priebus claims that reports of ties between Trump team members and Moscow were "total baloney" despite an alleged rare request from the White House to do so. The New York Times and CNN reported last week that Trump campaign aides and associates were in touch with Russian intel officials during the campaign.
"Multiple U.S. officials briefed on the matter" told CNN that the agency declined to publicly corroborate White House chief of staff Reince Priebus's claim that reports of ties between Team Trump and Moscow were "total baloney."
The report of White House communications with the FBI during a pending investigation into Russia’s influence on the 2016 presidential election could raise questions about whether the contacts violated restrictions established to insulate such probes from political influence. Former President Richard Nixon in 1972 discussed with aides using the CIA to push the FBI away from investigating the Watergate burglary that ultimately led to his resignation.
CNN reported that a law enforcement official and a White House official offered conflicting stories of how the communication between the White House and the FBI over the news reports began.
A law enforcement source told the media outlet that the discussions began between FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Priebus during a meeting on other topics after a day after The Times and CNN published their reports. A White House official, however, said that McCabe called Priebus to assure him The Times piece overstated the contacts between Trump advisers and Russian officials.
And so one week after Trump's war with the press reached an almost nuclear level, the President has today taken on the alleged source of the press leaks. One wonders what FBI leaks will follow in retaliation.