News & Politics

GOP Lawmakers Demand Inquiry into Intel Committee Leaks in Letter to House Leadership

GOP Lawmakers Demand Inquiry into Intel Committee Leaks in Letter to House Leadership
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calf. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais )

Several Republican lawmakers are calling on House leadership to initiate an inquiry into leaks coming out of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

Congressmen Lee Zeldin (R, N.Y.) and John Ratcliffe (R, Texas) and Congresswoman Mia Love (R, Utah) sent a letter this morning to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi detailing their concerns with the improper sharing of confidential information to the media  by certain members of the committee. In addition to calling for an inquiry, Reps Zeldin, Love, and Ratcliffe wrote that “any Members or staff responsible for violating rules by improperly releasing communications to the media must be removed from this investigation.”

“We write to you to address serious concerns regarding the integrity of investigations currently being undertaken by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI). Improper release of information to the media by committee members or staff is a serious violation of committee and House rules,” members wrote. “Significant evidence that serious leaks have occurred in relation to the HPSCI investigation into alleged Russian meddling of the 2016 election must be immediately addressed. 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.”

Zeldin, Love, and Ratcliffe wrote that their concerns are “centered around but not limited to” the leaks of confidential, non-public information that took place during Donald Trump Jr.’s interview with the committee on December 6, 2017.

“Under committee and House rules, the details of this non-public interview were not to be released publicly unless the committee voted to do so,” the lawmakers wrote. “Even with such a vote, the rules still allow for a witness and his or her counsel to review the transcript before public release.”

The letter continues: “As the committee’s eight hour interview of Donald Trump, Jr. was still underway, information from this closed session of the committee was clearly 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. 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. Any staff who have violated committee or House rules must also face appropriate disciplinary action.”

According to Fox News, Rep. Adam Schiff (D, Calif.) was seen leaving the room multiple times during the interview, which began at approximately 10:00 a.m. and ended at around 5:50 p.m.

In a letter to the Intelligence Committee last week, Trump Jr.’s lawyer, Alan Futerfas, complained about the leaks and requested an inquiry. Futerfas said Trump Jr. and his attorneys were promised that the interview would be “kept strictly confidential and not discussed publicly unless and until the full committee voted to release the transcript.”