House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes on Friday sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation asking it to investigate the leaks of classified information that have produced a series of damaging media reports on President Donald Trump’s administration, according to three sources familiar with the letter.
Nunes has suggested in recent days that the leaks came from career government intelligence employees who are either loyal to former President Barack Obama or opposed to Trump. And Nunes’ letter gives Trump a key Capitol Hill bulkhead in his war on leaks.
According to the sources familiar with Nunes’ letter, it asks FBI Director James Comey to investigate and report back to the intelligence committee on the circumstances behind the leaking of details from Trump’s phone calls with foreign leaders, as well as from communications between his former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and the Russian Ambassador to the U.S.
Nunes’s letter also asks Comey to look into leaks related to the Central Intelligence Agency’s rejection of an elite-level security clearance for one of Flynn’s closest deputies on the National Security Council, senior director for Africa Robin Townley.
It’s unclear if Nunes’s letter asks the FBI to investigate other leaks as well, and the California congressman’s office did not comment. Neither did Townley, the FBI or the CIA.
But someone who has discussed the matter with Nunes says the congressman, who served on Trump’s transition team, “believes that Trump is being targeted by the intelligence community. It’s an abuse of authority.”
Nunes in a Wednesday interview on Fox News called the leaks “totally unacceptable.” And, he added, “I think most of this is probably from people who were in the old administration, but there still could be some people that have burrowed in and are providing classified information to the media.”
Trump also has talked to the Justice Department about an investigation into the leaks, tweeting on Thursday morning that “leaking, and even illegal classified leaking, has been a big problem in Washington for years.” Picking up the theme during a rambling press conference later that day, Trump blamed the intelligence community for leaking damaging information about his administration.