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Trump calls ousted national security adviser a 'wonderful man,' says media treated him 'unfairly

President Donald Trump speaks during an news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the East Room of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, in Washington. (AP/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump blasted the "fake media" during a White House press conference Wednesday, criticizing reporters for their treatment of now-former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who resigned late Monday following allegations that he misled Vice President Mike Pence over discussions he had with Russia before Trump took office.

Trump made the comment during a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. David Brody, a reporter for the Virginia-based Christian Broadcast Network, asked Trump if the recent developments involving Flynn could impact the Iran nuclear deal, given that Flynn was one of the Trump administration's staunchest opponents of the agreement.

Trump has criticized the Iran Deal, which was negotiated under President Barack Obama, as the "worst deal" he's ever seen. Meanwhile, Netanyahu has voiced concern that the deal won't stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but enable the world's largest terror sponsor to become a nuclear power.

Trump dodged the question Wednesday, opting instead to go after the media for reporting on Flynn's ties to Russia:

Michael Flynn — Gen. Flynn — is a wonderful man. I think he's been treated very, very unfairly by the media. As I call it, the fake media, in many cases. And I think it was really a sad thing that he was treated so badly. I think in addition to that, from intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked. It's criminal action, criminal act. It's been going on for a long time, before me, but now it's really going on. People are trying to cover up for a terrible loss the Democrats had under Hillary Clinton. I think it's very, very unfair what's happened to Gen. Flynn, the way he was treated and the documents and papers that were illegally — I stress that — illegally leaked. Very, very unfair.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to address the bombshell New York Times report that members of Trump's campaign were in frequent contact with the Russian government around the same time the Russians were attempting to hack the email accounts of staffers at the Democratic National Committee and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, John Podesta. But U.S. intelligence officials who spoke with the Times said they had seen no evidence to suggest the Trump campaign had colluded with the Russians to initiate the email hacks.

The Times report came after the Washington Post reported Monday that acting attorney general Sally Yates warned the White House in January that Flynn "had put himself in a compromising position” with Russia and had potentially exposed himself to blackmail by the Kremlin.

Trump fired Yates Jan. 30 after she refused to defend his administration's immigration policies.

The White House stayed noticeably silent Tuesday night on the mounting news reports. But Trump himself took to Twitter Wednesday morning to address the Times and Post's reporting, which multiple media outlets later seized upon.

"The fake news media is going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred. @MSNBC & @CNN are unwatchable. @foxandfriends is great!" Trump tweeted.

Trump further called the reports "an attempt to cover-up the many mistakes" made during the presidential campaign.

The president said that the leaks that were made to Times and the Post were "illegal."

"The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by 'intelligence' like candy. Very un-American!" Trump tweeted.

One last thing…
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