Last fall, Donald Trump did not lash out at the FBI when James Comey decided to reopen the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails mere weeks before the election. However, he’s terribly angry about a Thursday CNN report about how the FBI refused to bury Russia stories that did not present a good look for his administration (following a request from White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus). Even worse (in Trump’s eyes), the story about this refusal came from his least favorite cable news network, which Trump regularly accuses of being “fake news.” The story itself was a leak, which makes Trump even more upset, but god only knows who leaked it.
On Friday morning, Trump’s predictable angry tweet storm arrived. He called the FBI “totally unable” to stop “leakers” within the government. He says this will be “devastating” to the country, and he added “FIND NOW.”
This isn’t the first time Trump has trashed U.S. intelligence over Russia. Last time, he accused them of manufacturing stories about Russia, and now it’s all about leaks in Trump’s mind. Last week, Trump said (during his combative press conference), “The leaks are real, but the news is fake” — is this what he’s getting at here? And again, what does this mean?
The CNN story also drew upon Priebus’ complaints about the press on Fox News Sunday last week. He insisted the reports of U.S. intelligence intercepting calls between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence were false, and he refused to name his sources. This prompted Chris Wallace to tell Preibus to sit down: “You don’t get to tell us what to do.” And the FBI’s response sent the same message.
For what it’s worth, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer denies the CNN story and claims, “We didn’t try to knock the story down. We asked them to tell the truth.” Spicer also claimed that the FBI told the White House that the press was reporting inaccurate Russia stories, and he says that’s why the White House made the request. However, Spicer’s not known for possessing truth-telling skills, so nothing has been solved here.
Meanwhile, the FBI shall continue its probe into the Trump-Russia mess.