President Trump on Thursday pledged to punish people who leaked damaging information about the inner workings of the White House, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s conversations with Russia.
“We’re going to find the leakers and they’re going to pay a big price,” he told reporters in the Roosevelt Room during a meeting with Republican lawmakers.
The foreboding comments come one day after Trump blamed “criminal” leaks from the intelligence community for Flynn’s ouster.
“From intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked; it’s criminal action. It’s a criminal act, and it’s been going on for a long time before me, but now it’s really going on,” Trump said Wednesday during a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“People are trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the Democrats had under Hillary Clinton,” he added.
Trump’s aides, however, have said the president demanded Flynn’s resignation because the top aide lost the president’s trust by misleading senior officials about his talks with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
Trump, who praised WikiLeaks during the presidential campaign, has also been angered at leaked accounts of his phone calls with the leaders of Russia, Australia and Mexico.
The Washington Post revealed Trump called a bilateral agreement on refugees brokered by President Obama “the worst deal ever” in a call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and told his counterpart their conversation was “the worst call by far” of those he had had with other world leaders, before cutting the conversation short.