US President Donald Trump has blamed leaks by US intelligence agencies, including the FBI and NSA, for the resignation of his national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Flynn stepped down on Monday after mounting evidence suggested that he had discussed former President Barack Obama’s anti-Russia sanctions with Russia's ambassador to the US, well before Trump’s inauguration.
Trump reacted to the news by drawing attention to what he called “illegal leaks” coming out of the White House.
“The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by "intelligence" like candy. Very un-American!” he said in a tweet on Wednesday morning.
“Information is being illegally given to the failing New York Times and Washington Post by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?). Just like Russia,” he said in another tweet.
“Very serious situation for USA,” Trump warned, while commending a Bloomberg journalist for criticizing the NSA and the FBI for interfering in politics.
Reports of Flynn’s contacts were first relayed by the Washington Post. After Flynn’s resignation, The New York Times published a new report, claiming that the Trump team was constantly in contact with Russian officials prior to his election victory on November 8.
Similar accusations were made against Trump before the presidential election. The New York billionaire’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and other officials in the Obama administration said Russia was trying to influence the outcome of the vote in his favor.
Trump pointed this out in another tweet, saying that the “Russian connection” was intended to cover up similar accusations against him during the presidential election campaign.
“This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in [former secretary of state] Hillary Clinton's losing campaign,” he wrote.
In his resignation letter, Flynn said he had given incomplete information to Vice President Mike Pence, who went on live TV and denied the allegations against the retired US Army general.
According to reports, the Justice Department warned President Trump last month that Flynn lied regarding his communications with the Russian ambassador to the US and was potentially vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.
Flynn’s discussion of sanctions with Russia’s envoy would have amounted to a breach of law against private citizens engaging in foreign policy.