Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is referring eight people to the Justice Department for prosecution for leaks, FISA abuse, and lying to Congress related to the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation. Fox News:
The dramatic step comes as Republicans have pushed for the release of key documentsto uncover the origins of the now-discredited narrative that the Trump campaign colluded improperly with the Russian government. President Trump recently told Fox News he would release the entirety of the FISA applications used to surveil one of his top aides, and other related documents.
Nunes said he has been working on the referrals for more than two years, and wanted to wait until the confirmation of Attorney General Bill Barr.
“We’re prepared this week to notify the attorney general that we’re prepared to send those referrals over,” Nunes said. “First of all, all of these are classified or sensitive. … Five of them are what I would call straight up referrals — so just referrals that name someone and name the specific crimes,” Nunes told Maria Bartiromo. “Those crimes are lying to Congress, misleading Congress, leaking classified information. So five of them are those types.”
This is a fascinating development. Some of the highest-ranking employees at the Justice Department may be on that list, including former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who leaked information to the Wall Street Journal and then lied to his superiors about it.
The most explosive cases could be related to how the FBI withheld information and misled the FISA court when requesting warrants to spy on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide.
“There are three that are more complicated… So the question on conspiracy is what, there’s the conspiracy statute, and then what do they need to look at under that statute. So on the first one, is FISA abuse and other matters we believe there is a conspiracy to lie to the FISA Court, mislead the FISA court by numerous individuals that all need to be investigative and looked at,” Nunes said. “The second conspiracy one is involving manipulation of intelligence. That also could involve many Americans and we are, so that’s kind of the second one. As you know, we’ve had a lot of concerns with the way intelligence was used.”
The third referral Nunes called a “global leak referral,” regarding the leaks in 2017 of President Trump’s private phone call transcripts with the leaders of Australia and Mexico.
There may not be enough evidence to prosecute anyone, so its best not to get hopes up. But this is a development that should have several key players in the anti-Trump faction at the Justice Department who flogged the Russia collusion story nervous.
I hope they know a good criminal lawyer.