WASHINGTON, U.S. - Top GOP leaders on the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees are pushing for the Justice Department’s inspector general to probe whether officials “mishandled” classified information, including leaked communications between members of the Russian government and the Trump administration, which resulted in Michael T. Flynn’s resignation as national security adviser.
In letter to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz on Wednesday, Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, requested an "immediate investigation" into the potential leak of classified information.
"We have serious concerns about the potential inadequate protection of classified information here," the Republicans wrote in the letter.
“The leaks are coming from somewhere … obviously it’s coming from people that don’t want to see this administration succeed,” Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) remarked.
However, some members of the GOP were exasperated with their party's obsession with the leaks.
“All of us know that leaks happen in this town, and we all don’t like it — but the fact is that you now have a much larger issue to address,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday.
"The national security adviser lied to the vice president of the United States. That’s a pretty serious event.”
Democrats, meanwhile, were hitting back strongly against the Republicans' focus on the leaks.
“Frankly it’s safer for them to talk about leaks than be critical of the president,” Intelligence Committee ranking Democrat Adam B. Schiff (Calif.) said of his GOP colleagues.
“There are still a lot they want from this president in the form of tax cuts and regulatory giveaways, so I think they’re hoping to get what they can get before they have to confront him.”
Ever since the resignation of Flynn, Trump has been very critical of the intelligence community for leaking information also blasting the media for reporting on Flynn "very unfairly."
"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.
Flynn himself also denounced the leaks as "criminal" in an interview with the Daily Caller before his resignation.
“You call them leaks. It’s a criminal act. This is a crime. It’s not just a wink and a nod,” Flynn told the outlet from his White House office Monday.
“In some of these cases, you’re talking about stuff that’s taken off of a classified system and given to a reporter. That’s a crime."