News Worms
News Worms

Trump is freezing out the mainstream media. That should scare you

The attack on the press channelled Mr Trump's campaign persona, which he has maintained since taking office.

The allegations have followed Mr Flynn's forced resignation as national security adviser over his dealings with Moscow's ambassador in Washington, less than a month after the United States president took office.

His only problems, Mr. Trump said, are the leaks to reporters, including the revelations of Mr. Flynn's talks with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

In the meantime, the president has named retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, who had previously been appointed the National Security Council chief of staff, as the acting national security adviser.

Republicans have joined congressional calls for an investigation into Mr Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation.

Flynn has since reportedly apologized to Pence and other White House officials.

Flynn had been incorrect on both counts and with the senior-most officials in the administration, including Vice-President Mike Pence, who were fielded by the White House to defend the embattled NSA in interviews and interactions on all major television news networks.

Amid reports of widespread leaks within his administration, Mr Trump also warned that he would clamp down on the dissemination of sensitive information, saying he had asked the Justice Department to look into the leaks. Later, however, the Federal Bureau of Investigation discovered that the contents of Flynn's call were actually "highly significant" and that the former Army lieutenant general did indeed discuss sanctions with the diplomat-a revelation that made Pence "feel lied to", according to business site Axios.

But White House spokesman Sean Spicer, at his daily briefing on February 14, did confirm that the two men spoke about the sanctions.

Sen. John McCain, a leading Republican voice on foreign relations, said Flynn's resignation raised questions about Trump's intentions toward Russian Federation, "including statements by the President suggesting moral equivalence between the United States and Russian Federation despite its invasion of Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, threats to our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, and attempted interference in American elections". Sometime in December after sanctions were imposed on Russian by the Obama Administration in retaliation for Russian interference in the presidential election, according to reporting by the Washington Post, Flynn advised the Russians that the recently imposed sanctions would be "revisited" once Trump took office. A New York Times article published Tuesday cites unnamed US intelligence officials saying Manafort and other Trump campaign aides had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence officers in the lead-up to Election Day. Will the Central Intelligence Agency, which reportedly had considered Flynn a security risk (!) be assuaged?

Under the Logan Act, it is illegal for an unauthorised citizen to conduct diplomacy on behalf of the US.

Trump's tenure at the White House has been rocked by a series of hits, including the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, the failed nomination of Andrew Puzder for labor secretary, and reports of his administration's ties to Russian Federation in the lead up to his election. Reps. John Conyers of MI and Elijah Cummings of Maryland called Flynn "unfit" to be national security adviser and said he should have been dismissed weeks ago. Did the president know and when did he know it?

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) echoed the president's concerns.

Several House Democrats had already called on Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz to launch an investigation into Mr Flynn's ties to Russian Federation. After Sean Spicer's first media briefing on January 23, in which the press secretary was asked about Flynn's communications with Kislyak, Spicer insisted that sanctions were not discussed. They are also looking at contacts in Russia between Russian intelligence officers or others with ties to President Vladimir Putin's government and people connected to Mr Trump or his campaign.

The controversy comes as Mr Trump and his leading advisers seek to steady the White House after a rocky start.


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