President Donald Trump says former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who quit over links with Russia, is a “wonderful man”.
The US leader said retired army general Flynn had been treated “very, very unfairly by the media”, including what he called “fake media”.
He said it was “really a sad thing”, as he hit out at alleged leaks of papers by the intelligence services, saying the “leaks” were “criminal acts”.
On Tuesday, Mr Trump’s spokesman Sean Spicer said the President had lost trust in Gen Flynn and had been “very concerned” he misled Vice President Mike Pence and others.
Gen Flynn resigned a day earlier – less than a month into the job – after he allegedly discussed US sanctions on Moscow with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak on 29 December.
Gen Flynn has apologised for giving Mr Pence and others “incomplete information” about the phone call, which happened on the same day President Obama announced new sanctions on Russia.
The phone call took place before Gen Flynn took up his NSA post and also before Mr Trump was inaugurated as president.
Under the Logan Act, it is illegal for an unauthorised citizen to conduct diplomacy on behalf of the US.