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
Last night CNN reported the FBI rejected a request from the White House to publicly rebut claims in the media about communications between Donald Trump’s aides and Russian intelligence during last year’s presidential campaign. The White House later said the request was made only after the bureau told Trump administration officials it believed the reporting wasn’t accurate. It was not immediately clear what prompted Trump’s tweets; such tweets typically come within a few minutes of news segments being aired on whatever Trump happens to be watching on TV in the morning.
Allegations of links to Russia and Russian intelligence officials have dogged Trump and his aides since last year. Earlier this month, a cascade of news reports about Michael Flynn’s conversation with Russian’s ambassador to the U.S. and what he told Vice President Mike Pence about it prompted Flynn’s resignation as Trump’s national-security adviser. But the scandal didn’t go away: Both The New York Times and CNN reported last week that other Trump aides were in touch with Russian intelligence officials throughout the presidential campaign. Trump last week dismissed these reports as “fake news.” When asked if he could definitively say if any of his aides were in touch with Russia during the presidential campaign, he said: “Not that I know of.”
Trump has previously used Twitter to rail against leaks, which he believes are coming from intelligence agencies and the FBI, about his administration. He previously accused them of interfering in politics, compared them to Russia, as well as to Nazi Germany. Critics say this reeks of hypocrisy because during the presidential campaign Trump called for Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails and celebrated WikiLeaks’s publication of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee. But Trump has distinguished between those calls and the leaks emerging now by pointing out the current leaks are of classified information, and, consequently, harmful to national security.
Trump is reiterating his claim that the leaks are harming national security and suggests the FBI is unable to do its job and find who is leaking such information to the media. What he isn’t doing yet is denying the news reports about the White House request to the FBI—something he has previously done with unfavorable news coverage.