WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange weighed in on the tension between the Trump administration and the U.S. intelligence community, calling it an “amazing battle for dominance.”
“Amazing battle for dominance is playing out between the elected US govt & the IC who consider themselves to be the ‘permanent government,’” Assange wrote on Twitter Wednesday, one day after joining the social media website.
Assange was referring to recent intelligence leaks about contact between Trump aides and Russian officials. The New York Times, citing current and former officials, reported late Tuesday that Trump campaign aides had repeated contacts with Russian intelligence officials ahead of the U.S. presidential election.
After the Washington Post reported last week that national security adviser Michael Flynn discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the United States despite public denials by Trump officials, Flynn was forced to resign late Monday.
President Trump himself took aim at the leaks on Wednesday, accusing the intelligence community of “illegally” giving the information to the publications.
“The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by ‘intelligence’ like candy,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Very un-American!”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) signaledTuesday that he would probe the leaks about Flynn.
There has been consistent speculation about potential connections between Trump and Russia since the intelligence community tied breaches of systems used by the Democratic National Committee and former Clinton campaign chair John Podesta to the Russian government. Batches of hacked emails were published by WikiLeaks leading up to the presidential election, though Assange has denied have connections to Russia.
Trump also fueled questions throughout the campaign by making complimentary statements about Russian President Vladimir Putin and indicating he would like to foster warmer relations with Moscow.
Democrats and some Republicans have voiced support for congressional investigations into Flynn’s contact with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak ahead of Trump’s inauguration.
Separately, WikiLeaks wrote on Twitter Tuesday that the transcript of phone calls between Flynn and Kislyak “should be released to the public so everyone can act with complete knowledge.”