AG Barr: 'We Have Multiple Criminal Leak Investigations Underway' After Russia Probe

Attorney General William Barr speaks in a roundtable to address elder financial exploitation.

On Wednesday, Attorney General William Barr revealed that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has launched many investigations into the constant leaks to the media during the Trump-Russia investigation. The DOJ is examining just exactly how mainstream media outlets had scoops on the investigation long before Congress had heard anything about the subject matter.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Barr about the leaks in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"The Inspector General found that during the department’s investigation of Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information, there was a culture of unauthorized media contacts. During the Russian investigation, the leaks continued. Leaks undermine the ability of investigators to investigate," Grassley argued. "Further leaks to the papers while Congress’s questions to the department go unanswered is unacceptable."

"What are you doing to investigate unauthorized media contacts by the department and FBI officials during the Russian investigation?" he asked.

"We have multiple criminal leak investigations underway," Barr responded.

Later in the hearing, Sen. Joe Kennedy (R-La.) suggested Barr extend the probes to special counsel Robert Mueller and his team as well. "When you're investigating leaks at the Department of Justice and the FBI, I hope you will include the Mueller team as well," Kennedy said, concluding his remarks.

Last month, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said he had sent multiple criminal referrals to the Department of Justice, including some related to leaks.

"There are five direct referrals based on lying, obstruction, congressional investigation, and leaking. We have a global leaks referral, which involves just a few reporters but could involve multiple people. I don't think it's that many people because I think they probably only have a few sources within these agencies," Nunes said.

Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.