A member of the House Intelligence Committee says Republicans are not letting up on efforts to determine who in the Trump administration is leaking classified information to the press, or efforts to eventually hold those officials accountable.
"How many times have I heard accusations of collusion between Trump officials, campaign officials and the Russians with no evidence of that," said Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, who sits on the committee. "Yet we do know that there was unmasking, and we know that there was leaking. And I can assure you, we're not letting that go at all."
When then-FBI Director James Comey testified before the committee in March, Republicans on the committee pounded him about whether the bureau was actively searching for the source of leaks of classified material, like the leak of the transcript of a phone call between former national security advisor Mike Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak.
However, when former CIA Director John Brennan went before the same committee this week, questions about intelligence leaks seemed to dry up significantly.
"In the last hearing, we didn't hammer on that because frankly, there wasn't much point of it with Director Brennan, especially in an open session," Stewart said. "But I assure you, we're not turning a blind eye to that. In fact, it's one of the things that many of us are focused on."
Even though Brennan wasn't pressed on the questions of leaks like Comey, the topic did come up, and Brennan sounded off.
"What I was very concerned about, though, is the subsequent releases of what appears to be classified information, purporting to point to the originator of the information, liaison partners," Brennan said, referring to reports which detailed conversations President Trump had with two Russian officials in the Oval Office. "These continue to be very, very damaging leaks and I find them appalling. So, that was where the damage came from, I think, that it was released in the press."
Since the appointment of a special counsel, concerns have emerged about potential power struggles between the investigations coming from the legislative branch versus the DOJ investigation. But Stewart is hopeful the special counsel will make it more likely that leakers, if they're found, will be held accountable.
"Because leaking is potentially a criminal activity, that's best done from more of a legal point of view than a counter intelligence or intelligence point of view, which we're focusing on in the committee," Stewart said.
At the time of Comey's appearance before the House Intelligence Committee hearing in March, the main leak of concern was the published report of a transcript of an intercepted call between Flynn and Kislyak.
But since that time, leaks have become an even broader concern in other areas. For example, the UK said this week it would stop sharing information with the U.S. about the bombing at the Ariana Grande concert because of constant intelligence leaks.
That prompted President Trump to again warn that he would be coming after the leakers. He said he has asked the Justice Department to launch a "complete review" of the problem.
"Part of the reason that it frustrates me and many others is there doesn't seem to be any legal repercussions, and doesn't seem to be any real effort yet by the Department of Justice to pursue, to hold these people accountable," Stewart said. "Until we do that, I think we're going to be left with a pervasive environment of leaks because people can do it without fear, and we've just got to correct that."