World Bulletin / News Desk
President Donald Trump on Thursday threatened to prosecute individuals who have been disclosing classified information to the press as his administration is beset by a steady stream of stinging reports.
So far, one high-ranking official, former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, has been forced from his post amid controversy sparked by incriminating media reports. In particular, Flynn was asked to resign because the media made public he misled officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, about his contacts with Russia's U.S. envoy.
"We're going to find the leakers and they're going to pay a big price," Trump said at the White House during a meeting with lawmakers. In particular, Trump said, he called on the Justice Department to investigate the leaks.
On Wednesday, the American president called Flynn a "wonderful man", blaming the media for his ouster rather than Flynn's wrongdoing. On Thursday, Trump maintained what Flynn did "wasn't wrong".
Responding to a reporter's question during a lengthy press conference, Trump offered an ouroborosian explanation as to why he has classified many of the damning reports as "fake news".
“The news is fake because so much of the news is fake,” he said.
Later responding to a media report that said members of the intelligence community are not sharing sensitive intelligence with him, Trump cited a statement from the Director of National Intelligence that he said was just released.
"So director of national intelligence just put out, acting, a statement, any suggestion that the United States intelligence community, this was just given to us, is withholding information and not providing the best possible intelligence to the president and his national security team is not true," he read.
That statement was included nearly verbatim in a Wall Street Journal story alongside a statement from the White House that similarly denied the report's veracity.
And when asked about his presidential campaign's contact with Russian officials amid stories, Trump said "nobody I know of" had any contact with the Russians.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that members of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign "and other Trump associates" had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials, just hours after the White House denied any such contacts.
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His speech capped a nostalgic visit for the 33-year-old billionaire, which included a visit to his old dorm room.