Trump claims ‘un-American’ leaks are the ‘real scandal’

Trump claims ‘un-American’ leaks are the ‘real scandal’

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President Elect Donald Trump at his first press conference since winning the 2016 election. Trump Tower, New York. January 11, 2017. Photo: Luke Vargas/TMN

This article has been updated. Feb. 15, 2017. 4:35 PM EST.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Wednesday that the scandals surrounding his team’s alleged contact with Russian officials are less important that the leaks that provided the information to media outlets.

In a tweet Wednesday morning, Trump described the leaks as “the real scandal” and said that they were “Very un-American!” (sic).

Citing four unnamed current and former American officials, The New York Times reported Tuesday night that members of Trump’s campaign staff had repeated telephone communications with Russian operatives.

The story comes on the heels of National Security Adviser Mike Flynn stepping down from his position Monday night after The Washington Post and The New York Times reported that the administration’s claims that Flynn did not discuss policy matters during phone calls with Russian ambassador were false.

Both reports also relied on leaked information.

Trump also claimed Wednesday morning that the coverage surrounding the leaks were “non-sense” (sic) aimed at covering up presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s loss.

“From intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked. It’s a criminal action, criminal act, and it’s been going on for a long time before me, but now it’s really going on,” Trump again said Wednesday, this time during a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. “And people are trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the Democrats had under Hillary Clinton.”

Trump said that Flynn had “been treated very, very unfairly by the media — as I call it, the fake media.” This appears to differ from White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s assessment Tuesday that Trump had lost trust in Flynn.

Trump’s current position on leaks appear to represent a dramatic turnaround from his candidacy, wherein he touted hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chair John Podesta that were released by WikiLeaks.

Trump claimed that the leaks released during the campaign offered “a window inside Clinton corruption.”

The Clinton campaign at the time took a similar stance to Trump’s current position, saying that the information was illegally obtained and suggesting that the media was irresponsible for publishing the content.

An unclassified report compiled by the intelligence community in the final days of President Barack Obama’s presidency states that WikiLeaks was provided with the hacked emails by Russian intelligence.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claimed that he did not receive the emails from Russian sources.

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