Three Republican lawmakers are calling on House leaders to look into leaks from the House Intelligence Committee related to its investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election after details of Donald Trump Jr.’s interview with the panel were shared with the media.
Republican Reps. Mia Love of Utah, John Ratcliffe of Texas, and Lee Zeldin of New York sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Monday asking for an investigation into leaks from the committee, and want any lawmaker or staff member who is found to have shared information with the press to be removed from the Russia probe.
“Significant evidence that serious leaks have occurred in relation to the [House Intelligence Committee] investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election must be immediately addressed,” the members wrote. “Members or staff who may have violated rules by leaking sensitive information to the press or other outside entities must be promptly removed from this investigation and proper inquiries undertaken without delay.”
The three Republicans specifically highlighted the leaks of information from Trump Jr.’s interviews with the Intelligence Committee this month. As the interview was still being conducted, the lawmakers said it’s clear information was being leaked to the press.
“This is evidenced in multiple tweets and online articles that contained privileged information that only members or staff present for the interview would have been privy to,” Love, Ratcliffe, and Zeldin wrote. “The leaking of privileged information continued after the interview had concluded. These serious violations need to be investigated and any members responsible for such violations must no longer serve as part of this investigation.”
Though the lawmakers didn’t explicitly name any reporters or news outlets, CNN published an article Dec. 7 based on information gleaned from Trump Jr.’s interview.
The article claimed Trump Jr. and then-candidate Donald Trump received an email dated Sept. 4, 2016, inviting them to see hacked documents from WikiLeaks before they were posted online.
The network said the email was given to congressional investigators, and multiple sources described the email to its reporters. Trump Jr. was also reportedly questioned about the email during his meeting with the Intelligence Committee.
But the email was actually dated Sept. 14, 2016, after WikiLeaks published the hacked documents. CNN later corrected the story.
Trump Jr. and his lawyer, Alan Futerfas, also asked the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee last week to investigate leaks to the press. Their letter specifically cites public comments made by three Democrats on the committee, including ranking member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., about Trump Jr.’s testimony, as well as reports and tweets from CNN and its reporters.
“[W]hile the interview was in progress, members of the Committee and/or their staff began selectively leaking information provided during the interview to various press outlets, most notably CNN,” Futerfas wrote in the letter.