During former special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony on Wednesday, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) boldly claimed to have a list of leaks about the investigation that originated in Mueller’s office.
Lifting a binder during the House Intelligence Committee’s hearing, Stewart declared, “I’m holding here in my hand a binder of 25 examples of leaks that occurred from the special counsel’s office.”
“All of these have one thing in common, they were designed to weaken or to embarrass the President,” he added. The congressman later amplified his comments on Twitter.
Reporters who’ve spent months covering Mueller and his team — and who’ve noted their reputation for not leaking — were baffled.
Mueller pushed back on Stewart’s claim, telling the congressman he believed “we have done a good job ensuring that no leaks occur.”
Stewart responded later, holding the binder: “Your office is the only one that had information regarding this, it had to come from your office.”
Upon request, Stewart’s office sent TPM a copy of Stewart’s list of 25 alleged leaks from Mueller’s team.
Spoiler alert: It’s not what he claimed it was.
The list Stewart’s office provided includes leaks related to Mueller’s probe, but not leaks that were definitively sourced to Mueller’s office. In other words, plenty of people could have leaked these tidbits to the press, not only people on Mueller’s team.
For example, one article in the Wall Street Journal, item 13 out of 25 on the two-page list Stewart’s office sent to TPM, begins:
Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team in mid-October issued a subpoena to President Donald Trump’s campaign requesting Russia-related documents from more than a dozen top officials, according to a person familiar with the matter.
On his list, Stewart’s office quoted the Journal’s source, a “person familiar with the matter,” but gave no indication they knew that person was from Mueller’s office. In fact, the leak could have come from anyone with knowledge of the subpoena — the Journal doesn’t go into more detail.
Read the list Stewart’s office provided to TPM below: