President Donald Trump accused the media of making up sources and called leaks “fabricated lies” in a series of Sunday morning tweets amid reports that his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner attempted to set up a back channel with Russia during the transition.
“It is my opinion that many of the leaks coming out of the White House are fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Trump returned to the United States on Saturday after a nine-day trip during which he did minimal — and muted — tweeting.
His latest tweets came as The Washington Post, New York Times, Reuters and other outlets reported that Kushner is part of investigations into possible collusion between Russia and the president’s campaign and transition teams.
Trump went on to tweet that it was “very possible” anonymous sources are made up.
“Whenever you see the words ‘sources say’ in the fake news media, and they don’t mention names . . . it is very possible that those sources don’t exist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy!”
Meanwhile, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee called for a review of whether Kushner properly disclosed contacts with Russia to U.S. officials.
“If these allegations are true and he had discussions with the Russians about establishing a back channel and didn’t reveal that, that’s a real problem in terms of whether he should maintain that kind of a security clearance,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said on ABC’s “This Week.”
He added, if he didn’t, “then there’s no way he can maintain that kind of a clearance.”
Trump also tweeted Sunday about his trip to the Middle East and Italy.
“Just returned from Europe. Trip was a great success for America. Hard work but big results,” he tweeted.
He also criticized the media for its coverage of Republican Greg Gianforte’s congressional victory in Montana. Gianforte won a day after he was charged with assaulting a reporter.
“Does anyone notice how the Montana Congressional race was such a big deal to Dems & Fake News until the Republican won? V was poorly covered,” he wrote.
On Sunday morning talk shows, Republicans and administration officials defended any attempt by Kushner to secure back channels with Russians as an attempt to strengthen dialogue.
“I think that any channel of communication, back or otherwise, with a country like Russia is a good thing,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said on “Fox News Sunday.” “It doesn’t bother me.”
“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace said the network had confirmed that discussions between Kushner and Russian officials had taken place.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said on “Meet the Press” that Kushner has reached out to Congress to tell them he is willing to discuss the back channel. “Jared has said that he’s more than willing to answer any and all questions. They reached out to us yesterday to make sure that we knew that was the case.”
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who served under President Barack Obama, said he was “very concerned” about the latest reports on Kushner and Russia.
“I will tell you that my dashboard warning light was clearly on, and I think that was the case with all of us in the intelligence community — very concerned about the nature of these approaches to the Russians,” he said on “Meet the Press.”