Gowdy Uses Trump-Russia Hearing To Accuse Obama Officials Of Flynn Leaks

Two bombshells dropped during the first hour of Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing: FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the agency was conducting an ongoing investigation into potential “coordination” between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, and he refused to back President Trump’s claim that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the election.

But during his round of questioning, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) instead focused on what he considers the real scandal from the past few months: that someone in the government leaked to the press that former national security adviser Michael Flynn had undisclosed contact with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

“A U.S. citizen’s name appeared in The Washington Post and The New York Times unlawfully,” Gowdy said, refusing to say Flynn’s name to hammer home his point.

He proceeded to grill Comey as to which former official in President Obama’s administration could have potentially “unmasked” Flynn’s name:

Gowdy: Do you know whether Director Clapper knew the name of the U.S. citizen that appeared in the New York Times and Washington Post?

Comey: I can’t say in this forum because I again I do not want to confirm there was classified information in the newspaper.

Gowdy: Would he have had access to an unmasked name?

Comey: In some circumstances, sure, he was the director of National Intelligence. But I’m not talking about the particular.

Gowdy: Would Director Brennan have access to an unmasked U.S. citizen’s name?

Comey: In some circumstances, yes.

Gowdy: Would National Security Advisor Susan Rice have access to an unmasked U.S. citizen’s name?

Comey: Yes, in general, and any other national security advisor would, I think, as a matter of the ordinary course of their business.

Gowdy: Would former White House advisor Ben Rhodes have access to an unmasked citizen’s name?

Comey: I do not know the answer to that.

Gowdy: Would former Attorney General Loretta Lynch have access to an unmasked U.S. citizen’s name?

Comey: In general, yes, as would any attorney general.

Gowdy: So that would also include Acting A.G. Sally Yates?

Comey: Same answer.

Gowdy even hinted that the leaker may have been President Obama himself, asking Comey if the President was briefed on the matter. Comey refused to disclose his past conversations with President Obama.

Gowdy went on to ask Comey whether the FBI had begun to investigate “the leak of classified information.” The FBI director responded: “I cannot say because I cannot confirm that [Flynn’s contact with the Russian ambassador] were classified information.”

Gowdy then doubled down, demanding Comey “assure the American people” that such leaks will be investigated and prosecuted.

“The felonious dissemination of classified material most definitely is a crime,” he said.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Sincerely,
TPM Staff
Latest Livewire
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: