(WASHINGTON) — The top Republicans on the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees have asked the Department of Justice inspector general to investigate potential leaks involving classified information at the department following the resignation of White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
In a Wednesday letter to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz, Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, requested an “immediate investigation” into the potential mishandling of classified information, citing reports ahead of Flynn’s resignation about his discussions with the Russian ambassador to the United States about sanctions.
“We have serious concerns about the potential inadequate protection of classified information here,” the Republicans wrote in the letter.
With the missive to the agency watchdog, top Republicans are following President Donald Trump’s lead.
Since Flynn’s resignation, the president has attacked the intelligence community for the leaks and blamed the media for Flynn’s departure, though the White House has said Trump asked for Flynn’s resignation.
The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by “intelligence” like candy. Very un-American!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017
“From intelligence, papers are being leaked, things are being leaked,” Trump said at a White House news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “It’s a criminal action, criminal act.”
“People are trying to cover up for a terrible loss that the Democrats had under Hillary Clinton,” he said.
While Democrats have uniformly called for investigations into Flynn’s conversations, the White House’s handling of the episode, House GOP leaders have instead focused on the leaks.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-California, who is leading his panel’s wide-ranging investigation into Russia and the election, plans to ask the FBI to assess leaks regarding Trump administration officials and classified information, an aide confirmed.
Nunes has downplayed concerns about Flynn’s actions and whether to review them in committee, though several Senate Republicans want the former Trump adviser to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
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