Donald Trump lashes out at US spooks over claims his aides were talking to Russia
US President Donald Trump has lashed out at the country's intelligence community, accusing them of leaking to the media over Russian spies.
He also defended his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in a press conference on Wednesday, saying he had been treated "very unfairly".
"General Flynn is a wonderful man, he has been treated very, very unfairly, by the media - as I call it, the fake media," the president said during a press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"I think it's really a sad thing that he was treated very badly... from intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked. It's criminal action, criminal act."
* Trump's campaign had contact with Russian intelligence - NYT
* Even the Kremlin is starting to worry about Trump
* Trump's national security adviser Michael Flynn resigns
* Trump knew his VP had been misled
"People are trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the Democrats had under Hillary Clinton."
Earlier, The New York Times reported members of his campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contact with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.
But Trump tweeted the Russian connection was nonsense.
Trump revived his charge that the allegations of a "Russian connection" were nothing more than a Democratic conspiracy, fed to a receptive news media to distract from the mistakes made by Hillary Clinton during the campaign.
"The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by 'intelligence' like candy. Very un-American!" he posted.
"This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton's losing campaign."
Minutes later, he added, "Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?). Just like Russia"
This Russian connection non-sense is merely an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes made in Hillary Clinton's losing campaign.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017
The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by "intelligence" like candy. Very un-American!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017
The New York Times and The Washington Post both reported on the contacts between a Russian diplomat and Flynn, who resigned as national security adviser this week after acknowledging he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about the discussions.
The Times on Wednesday disclosed broader contacts between Russian intelligence officials and people with ties to the Trump campaign and Trump's business empire during and after the campaign.