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White House Downplays ‘Flynn’s Scandal’ by Criticizing Intelligence, Media | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Donald Trump broke his silence on Michael Flynn’s resignation by attempting to deflect attention to North Korea in a tweet. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP

Washington- U.S. President Donald Trump sought on Wednesday to downplay the scandal of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn’s resignation by turning his accusations to the media and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Late on Monday, Flynn resigned after revelations that he had discussed U.S. sanctions with the Russian ambassador to his country before Trump took office, and misled Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.

As a first reaction to the resignation, Trump accused the media of being unfair with Flynn. “I think it’s very, very unfair what’s happened to General Flynn, the way he was treated, and the documents and papers that were illegally, I stress that, illegally leaked. Very, very unfair.”

Then, the U.S. president moved to accuse the CIA by describing the leaked papers concerning Flynn as a “criminal action and a criminal act.”

Trump also lashed out at the intelligence community, describing their behavior as “un-American.” In a tweet, the president wrote: “Information is being illegally given to the failing @nytimes &@washingtonpost by the intelligence community (NSA and FBI?). Just like Russia.” That was the “real scandal.”

For its part, the New York Times revealed on Wednesday that phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.

Quoting four current and former American officials, NYT said one of the advisers picked up on the calls was Paul Manafort, who was Trump’s campaign chairman for several months last year.

But Manafort dismissed the officials’ claims.

He said: “It’s not like these people wear badges that say, ‘I’m a Russian intelligence officer.’”

And while the White House tried on Wednesday to downplay the “Flynn scandal,” it did not succeed to calm down Democrat Congressmen, who insisted to demand a wide investigation into the relations of Trump’s team with Moscow.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called via Twitter for questioning Flynn and learn who the parties standing behind his contacts with the Russians were.