As multiple investigations into the Trump-Russia scandal continue to progress, Republicans would rather focus on an alternative narrative: the leaks.
Yes, the leaks. Not the scandals – you know, the ones that those leaks have uncovered and that have led to the downfall of Michael Flynn and exposed multiple troubling links between Trump’s associates and the Kremlin. Those scandals are cute, but it’s the leaks we should all be talking about.
Well, it appears the Republicans may finally get their wish. In the Senate Intelligence Committee’s hearings today, FBI Director James Comey said that the FBI is, indeed, looking into leaks.
Unfortunately for Republicans, the FBI’s target isn’t President Obama, or the media, or some rogue “deep state” Democratic faction in the intelligence community. It’s one of their own: Former mayor of New York City and close Trump advisor, Rudy Giuliani.
Pressed by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in Senate Intelligence Committee hearings today, James Comey all but confirmed this is indeed the case.
LEAHY: A number of surrogates, like Rudy Giuliani, claimed to have a pipeline to the FBI. He boasted that, and I quote, “numerous agents” talk to him all the time – regarding the investigation. He even said that he had — insinuated that he had advance warning about the emails described in your October letter. Former FBI agent Jim Kallstrom made similar claims. Now either they’re lying, or this is a serious problem within the bureau.
Did anybody in the FBI during the 2016 campaign have contact with Rudy Giuliani about the Clinton investigation?
COMEY: I don’t know yet. But if I find out that people were leaking information about our investigations, whether to reporters or to private parties, there’ll be severe consequences.
LEAHY: Did you know of anything from Jim Kallstrom?
COMEY: Same answer. I don’t know yet.
LEAHY: Do you know anything about from other former agents?
COMEY: I don’t know yet. But it’s a matter that I’m very, very interested in.
LEAHY: But you are looking into it?
During and after the heated 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump and his team dismissed any mention of Russia. Even after numerous leaks revealed that members of his inner circle had lied about their associations with Russian officials, team Trump insisted there was no collusion on the election itself.
That all changed in February, when, under intense pressure, both houses of congress announced they would conduct investigations and hold hearings into Russia’s roll in the election.
Unable to dodge the issue any longer, President Trump decided to go on offense. He created an alternate scandal, accusing President Obama and his supposed collaborators in the intelligence community of conducting illegal surveillance on his campaign and then leaking that surveillance to the media.
His White House staff, Republicans in Congress, and their allies in the right wing media all got the message, and, without offering an evidence, they’re continuing to push this false narrative to this day.
Peter Mellado is a writer, producer, and a branding and messaging specialist with over 15 years experience. He studied history at San Jose State University, and resides in Los Angeles.