Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Monday each testified that they had not leaked information to reporters about the Trump administration or the FBI probe into Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election.
“Have either of you ever been an anonymous source in a news report about matters relating to Mr. Trump, his associates or Russia’s attempt on meddle in the election?” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asked during a highly-anticipated subcommittee hearing.
“No,” Clapper said.
“Absolutely not,” Yates said.
“Did either of you ever authorize someone else at your respective organizations to be an anonymous source in a news report about Mr. Trump or his associates?” Grassley asked.
“No,” Clapper answered.
“No,” Yates said.
Both also said they have not been interviewed by the FBI about leaks from Trump’s administration.
Some lawmakers present appeared to be unclear on the definition of leaking. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) asked Clapper if he’s ever “leaked information, classified or unclassified, to a member of the press.”
“Well, unclassified is not — is not leaking,” Clapper said, to laughter from many in the chamber. “That’s somewhat of a non sequitur.”
KENNEDY: Have you ever leaked classified or unclassified to a member of the press?
CLAPPER: Well…unclassified is not leaking. pic.twitter.com/04sBW1yh9x
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 8, 2017
Trump in February suggested without evidence that Obama’s “people” were behind the rampant leaks coming out of his administration shortly after his inauguration.
“Some of the leaks possibly come from that group, you know, some of the leaks, which are really very serious leaks, because they’re bad in terms of national security,” Trump claimed.
Trump’s own former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was ousted in February after it came to light that he discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia in conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to Trump’s inauguration.
Yates testified Monday that she’d warned the White House in January about Flynn’s misleading statements regarding his “underlying conduct” in the hopes that Trump’s administration could “take action.”
Flynn did not resign until more than two weeks after Yates said she’d talked to White House counsel Don McGahn about Flynn’s contacts with the Russian ambassador.