WASHINGTON The Republican head of a congressional panel investigating accusations of Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election said on Sunday a leak involving former Trump aide Michael Flynn was a crime and that the panel was probing whether other names were leaked.
“The one crime we know that’s been committed is that one: the leaking of someone’s name …,” Representative Devin Nunes, chairman of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told Fox News Sunday.
Trump has been dogged by allegations that his associates had ties to Russian officials. Trump fired Flynn, his former national security adviser, last month after he failed to disclose contacts with Russia’s ambassador before Trump took office on Jan. 20.
Trump has found himself at odds with Democrats and Republicans alike, including Nunes, over his March 4 assertion that the Obama administration tapped his phones during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Nunes, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and other leading Republicans have said no such wiretap took place.
On Fox, Nunes repeated that he did not believe any such wiretapping took place.
On Monday, Nunes and Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, will lead a rare open hearing on the investigation into Russian election meddling where the directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency are expected to testify.
The Russian government has rejected an accusation by U.S. intelligence agencies that it worked to influence the election in Trump’s favor by hacking computer systems, among other methods.
While disagreeing with Trump’s wiretap assertions, Nunes agreed with concerns that the Republican president has expressed about alleged leaks in the probe.
Nunes said the panel would look at whether names other than Flynn’s were leaked to the media.
“That’s what we’re trying to get to the bottom of: were there any other names that were unmasked, leaked and leaked out?” Nunes said.
(Reporting By Caren Bohan; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)