In his explosive press conference on Wednesday – the first he's held since winning the presidency – Donald Trump revealed that he had personally conducted a sting operation that caught intelligence officials illegally leaking information about his classified briefings to the press.
Trump explained that after growing suspicious that intelligence officials were behind leaks to the media, he decided to test his theory.
"I think it's pretty sad when intelligence reports get leaked out to the press," he said. "First of all, it’s illegal. These are classified and certified meetings and reports... I’ll tell you what does happen. I have many meetings with intelligence. And every time I meet, people are reading about it. Somebody’s leaking them out. I said, 'Maybe it’s my office. Maybe my office.' Because I’ve got a lot of people … Maybe it’s them?"
He then revealed the details of his mini-sting operation.
"What I did, is I said I won't tell anyone. I'm going to have a meeting, and I won't tell anybody about my meeting with intelligence," he explained. "Nobody knew – not even Rhona, my executive assistant for years. She didn’t know – I didn’t tell her. Nobody knew... The meeting was held. They left, and immediately the word got out that I had a meeting."
"So, I don’t want that," he said. "It’s very unfair to the country. It’s very unfair to our country what’s happening."
Trump's relationship with the intelligence community has been rocky to say the least. He has consistently pushed back against their claims about the extent and intent of Russia's attempts to influence the election and on Wednesday suggested they might have played a role in the collapsing Buzzfeed/CNN Russian blackmail story.
"They looked at that nonsense that was released by maybe the intelligence agencies," Trump said about the completely unverified and partly debunked dossier published by Buzzfeed. "Who knows, it may be the intelligence agencies – which would be a tremendous blot of their record if they did that... A thing like that should have never been written … and it certainly should never have been released."
During the press conference, Trump particularly hammered "garbage" Buzzfeed and "fake news" CNN. Video below:
Partial transcript via Daily Mail.