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House Republican Accuses James Clapper of Leaking Classified Info to CNN


Republican Congressman Jim Jordan of Ohio went on Fox News this week to accuse former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper of leaking classified information concerning the Trump/Russia investigation to CNN. Rep. Jordan claimed the link between the leak and Clapper was confirmed by the report of Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee into whether collusion or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives had, indeed, occurred. Citing the report, Jordan says Clapper tipped off CNN about the Steele Dossier, which was published by BuzzFeed days later:

Clapper actually was the guy leaking information. Specifically, leaking information, I believe, from that January 6th meeting where they briefed President Trump, then President-elect Trump, on the dossier. Someone at CNN got information. We think it was Mr. Clapper who gave it to them, and then a few days later BuzzFeed prints the entire dossier.

[ . . . ]

Mr. Clapper was leaking information.  Here’s one of the top intelligence people in the government at the time leaking to the press.

Jordan went on to slam the FBI’s use of the “fake and salacious” “opposition research” Steele Dossier to obtain a warrant through a FISA court to “spy on a fellow American citizen.”

The House Intelligence Committee report is said to have concluded the Trump campaign did not collude with Russia regarding the 2016 election, but critics have said the report was premature, contains gaps, or both.

The full report has not yet been released pending a declassification review, but people are talking about it nonetheless.

Enter law professor Jonathan Turley, who picked up on Jordan’s accusations here. Turley points out that Clapper skated on another alleged crime, only to now be accused of committing another one. He also points out that if Jordan’s claims are not true, Jordan is the one in trouble. As Turley explains it:

If the allegation is true, Clapper would have run out the clock on one alleged crime only to face a new allegation.  If it is not true, Clapper could have a defamation case.  The Speech and Debate Clause does not afford members immunity for statements made outside of Congress.  This is clearly a statement of fact and not simply opinion.

Turley also points out that Clapper’s role as a CNN contributor is also in question. Turley wants to know when Clapper was approached for that role.

[Image via Fox News screengrab]

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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now deputy editor-in-chief for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only. You should not rely on it for legal advice. Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.