The Trump administration on Tuesday used an anonymous spokesperson in its official response to John Brennan’s testimony before Congress. After pushing back on the former former CIA director’s statement, the anonymous spokesperson attacked “the leaks of classified information,” which are typically delivers by anonymous sources.
“This morning’s hearings back up what we’ve been saying all along: that despite a year of investigation, there is still no evidence of any Russia Trump campaign collusion, that the President never jeopardized intelligence sources or sharing, and that even Obama’s CIA Director believes the leaks of classified information are ‘appalling’ and the culprits must be ‘tracked down,’” the statement read. That statement was attributable to an unnamed “White House spokesman.”
It marks the second time in two days the White House has used an anonymous official to condemn anonymous sources. Monday, the White House denied a bombshell report in the Washington Post that Trump asked Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael S. Rogers to push back against former FBI Director James Comey’s March 20 testimony revealing the bureau is investigating collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. That Washington Post report relied on two current and two former officials who spoke under the condition of anonymity.
“The White House does not confirm or deny unsubstantiated claims based on leaks from anonymous individuals,” an unnamed spokesman told the Post.
Officials in Trump’s orbit, and the president himself, have pushed back on a series of damaging reports about the president’s attempts to quash the multiple ongoing investigations into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives. House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz—who famously provided cover for Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower (a highly controversial that was similarly exposed through leaks)—told Fox News on Sunday that leakers should be handcuffed and thrown in jail.
Trump himself leaked highly classified information to the Russian ambassador and Russian foreign minister during a closed-door meeting in the Oval Office earlier this month. The president later revealed the source of that information while attempting to refute the validity of those leaks.
The White House has tried in vain to stop the leaks. Earlier this month, Deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders “lectured” staffers about leaking information to the media. That lecture was immediately leaked.