President Donald Trump is once again speaking out against members of the U.S. intelligence community after leaks to the media concerning his allegedly nefarious ties to Russia continue to embarrass and potentially undermine his administration.
"This Russian connection nonsense is merely an attempt to cover up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton’s losing campaign," Trump tweeted. "Information is being illegally given to the failing [The New York Times] & [The Washington Post] by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?). Just like Russia."
He added: "The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by 'intelligence' like candy. Very un-American!"
In the past week, members of the U.S. intelligence community have leaked to the media stories accusing members of Trump's cabinet and his presidential campaign of having improper communications with Russia.
The first major leak that week involved retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who resigned from his post as national security adviser on Feb. 13, after it was confirmed that, one month before Trump took office, he had several phone calls with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. about sanctions imposed by the U.S. during the last days of the administration of former President Barack Obama.
It's not clear if Flynn broke any laws by discussing foreign policy with the ambassador of a foreign nation, but before intelligence leaks confirmed the phone calls, the White House denied they occurred when they were first reported on by Reuters shortly after Trump's inauguration, resulting in an embarrassing communication failure at best, or evidence of a cover-up at worst.
But the latest allegation, that several of Trump's aides communicated with Russian officials during his presidential campaign, has further fueled speculation that Russia and Trump's camps somehow coordinated to thwart Hillary Clinton's bid for the Oval Office.
Some, however, are speculating that these intelligence leaks represent an active attempt from within the U.S. government to undermine the Trump administration.
"First it's Flynn, next it will be Kellyanne Conway, then it will be Steve Bannon, then it will be Reince Priebus," Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told Bloomberg View columnist Eli Lake.
"Put another way," Lake wrote, "Flynn is only the appetizer. Trump is the entree."