Newly elected House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik is remaining loyal to Trump. The House Intelligence Committee member defended the Trump Justice Department for seizing records from Democrat Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell in an effort to investigate an internal leak.
Stefanik noted in her defense of Trump that the Justice Department also seized the records of the two Democrat’s staff, family, as well a Trump White House counsel. She also went on to allege that Schiff and others on the Intelligence Committee had inappropriately leaked information in the past.
The Hill reports:
“Having served on the House Intelligence Committee, we’ve seen illegal leaks from our colleagues on the House Intelligence Committee, and there have been numerous referrals to the Department of Justice,” Stefanik said at a news conference Tuesday. “So I think it’s important that the Department of Justice determine if there were any illegal leaks, leaks by members of Congress, or their staff members.
“Let’s also be perfectly clear here that Adam Schiff, as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, released information regarding the ranking member, Devin Nunez, his phone calls, as well as [to] reporters,” she added. “That is unethical. Frankly, I believe that’s illegal.”
That was a reference to Schiff’s sweeping December 2019 report on Trump’s first impeachment. The report detailed that Nunes had multiple communications with key figures in the impeachment inquiry, including Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, as well as with Giuliani’s Soviet-born associate Lev Parnas, who was indicted on campaign finance charges.
“But make no mistake, there have been illegal leaks from members of Congress. That’s a national security risk. That is a federal crime. It’s very serious and we want to make sure that the Department of Justice is able to pursue any type of criminal illegal leaks.”
Stefanik noted that the Justice Department’s inspector general is investigating whether the Trump administration abused its power to obtain the records. Both the Senate and House Judiciary Committees have opened investigations into the matter as well.