A “destabilization campaign” by opponents of President Donald Trump is responsible for National Security Adviser Michael T. Flynn’s resignation, WikiLeaks alleged Tuesday.
The online publishing organization specifically blamed the intelligence community, the Democratic Party and the media in a tweet surrounding the incident.
“Trump’s National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigns after destabilization campaign by US spies, Democrats, press,” WikiLeaks stated.
Trump's National Security Advisor Michael Flynn resigns after destabilization campaign by US spies, Democrats, press https://t.co/vKlX1Tqek1
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) February 14, 2017
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, called the back-and-forth between the Trump White House and U.S. intelligence Wednesday a “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,” he said.
Amazing battle for dominance is playing out between the elected US govt & the IC who consider themselves to be the 'permanent government'.
— Julian Assange 🔹 (@JulianAssange) February 15, 2017
Flynn announced his resignation Monday after reports indicated he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other administration officials on the details of a December phone call with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States. Flynn had originally denied discussing sanctions, imposed by the Obama administration over allegations of election-related hacking, but a spokesman for Flynn later stated that he “couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up.”
“Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador,” Flynn wrote in his resignation letter. “I have sincerely apologized to the President and the Vice President, and they have accepted my apology.”
Information on the phone call became available to journalists at the New York Times and the Washington Post due to leaks from former and current U.S. government officials.
The leaks included a description by intelligence officials of the conversation thanks to an FBI wiretap of Kislyak’s phone. Other leaks revealed F.B.I. agents interviewed Flynn about the call just days into Trump’s presidency and believed he was “not entirely forthcoming.”
In an interview with the Daily Caller released Tuesday, Flynn admitted to discussing the 35 expelled Russian diplomats during the call but denied more specific mention was made of sanctions.
“It was basically, ‘Look, I know this happened. We’ll review everything.,’” Flynn stated. “I never said anything such as, ‘We’re going to review sanctions,’ or anything like that.”
Flynn also expressed concern over the leaks themselves, labeling the actions a “criminal act.”
“You call them leaks. It’s a criminal act. This is a crime. It’s not just a wink and a nod,” Flynn said.
Trump similarly condemned the leaks Tuesday, asking why so many “illegal leaks” were emanating from Washington D.C.
The real story here is why are there so many illegal leaks coming out of Washington? Will these leaks be happening as I deal on N.Korea etc?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2017
Wikileaks later shared an article from the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald that argued in favor of the leaks despite their illegality.
The Leakers Who Exposed Gen. Flynn Committed Serious — and Justified — Felonies https://t.co/qXNJZxPtC2
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) February 15, 2017