President Trump vowed Thursday to root out those responsible for leaking the “illegal classified” information that has fueled a string of damaging news reports on his administration, warning the leakers they “will be caught!”
“Leaking, and even illegal classified leaking, has been a big problem in Washington for years. Failing @nytimes (and others) must apologize!” Trump tweeted.
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
He added: “The spotlight has finally been put on the low-life leakers! They will be caught!"
The spotlight has finally been put on the low-life leakers! They will be caught!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 16, 2017
The renewed focus on tracking down the sources causing political migraines for his core team follows National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's resignation amid reports he misled Vice President Pence about a phone call with a Russian diplomat. Flynn's alleged deception was revealed by leaks.
While Trump apparently sought Flynn's resignation, the episode swiftly rekindled the president's feud with the intelligence community, amid suspicions their agents provided some of the damaging information. The Wall Street Journal also reported the intelligence community is holding back information from Trump, wary of exposing the president to sensitive information.
Trump's tweets Thursday echoed his comments a day earlier during his joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. When asked about Flynn’s resignation, Trump said the situation was “unfair” and emphasized that “documents and papers” were “illegally – I stress that –illegally leaked.”
"Intelligence, papers are being leaked," Trump said. "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."
The flood of anonymous sources bolstering a wide array of news accounts has given rise to rumors of a so-called “deep state coup,” in which members of the intelligence community are potentially working to undermine the new president and his advisers.
“It certainly seems like it, and remember the intelligence community has a long history of doing this,” Fox News contributor Erick Erickson said on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday, linking the suspected sabotage to Trump’s desire to roll back the Iran nuclear deal.
“They leaked information damaging to [former presidents] Bill Clinton, George [W.] Bush and Barack Obama when it served their interest, so Donald Trump is no different.”
Trump is not the only Republican leader seeking answers on the leak issue.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz told Fox News’ “The First 100 Days” Wednesday that he’ll ask the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate the leaks that led to Flynn’s outster.
“No matter where you are on the political spectrum, you cannot have classified information migrating out into a non-classified setting,” Chaffetz said.