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Senate intel panel staffer indicted for allegedly lying to FBI

Senate intel panel staffer indicted for allegedly lying to FBI

Wolfe, the Senate Intelligence Committee's former director of security, was indicted by a federal grand jury for lying to the FBI about repeated contact with three reporters.

Crossing a line that the Obama administration was previously attacked for breaching, the Department of Justice seized the phone and email records of a national security reporter at the New York Times in the Trump administration's effort to stop government leaks. Wolfe faces three counts of violating 18 U.S.C. 1001, for making false statements to criminal investigators, and could easily face serious jail time if convicted.

In a joint statement, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate panel, said while they were "troubled" by the charges against the former staffer, they did not believe that the allegations against Wolfe involved the mishandling of classified information.

The Times reported that Watkins said Wolfe had not been a professional source of information for her.

The Justice Department announced late Thursday that Wolfe has been indicted for allegedly lying to federal authorities about his relationships with three reporters.

According to the Times, this is the first time the Trump administration has sought a reporter's records.

The leaders of the Senate intelligence committee - Republican Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina and his Democratic counterpart, Mark Warner of Virginia - said in a joint statement they learned of the investigation a year ago. The indictment says that Wolfe originally denied knowing Watkins at all. "That should be a grave concern to anyone who cares about an informed citizenry", she added.

Wolfe, of Ellicott City, Md., did not answer questions from reporters.

The seizures of the emails and records come after months of demands from Trump that the Justice Department take action against "leakers". Watkins worked at Buzzfeed and Politico before joining The New York Times in December.

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SHAPIRO: Day after day, you're here in the studio telling us about yet more pressure on Manafort. He denied then being in contact with reporters, but, according to the indictment, he had communicated extensively with four reporters in part by using encrypted phone apps. He claims that his boss, at the time Federal Bureau of Investigation director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyOur "Not Me" politics of personal grievance The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by PhRMA - Washington's week of "we'll see" Former Navy sailor pardoned by Trump says he shouldn't be subject to different standard than Hillary Clinton MORE, knew and either explicitly or implicitly approved of the leak.

The prosecution follows intense pressure from President Trump for the Justice Department to crack down on leaks to the media. "She published an article for BuzzFeed News on April 3, 2017, about the attempted recruitment of Mr. Page in which he confirmed the contacts".

The information given to reporters described in the indictment appears to relate to the committee's interest in Carter Page, an adviser to the Trump presidential campaign who traveled to Russian Federation in 2016, including the news that he had been served with a subpoena by the committee.

The New York Times said in a statement last night that communications between journalists and their sources need to be protected, that that's part of a free press. Prosecutors say he also lied about giving two reporters non-public information about committee matters.

It's clear from the context of the indictment that Watkins was the author of one story the FBI was investigating to determine who served as her source or sources.

Watkin moved over to BuzzFeed in November 2015 and broke a story about a 2013 meeting between former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page and Victor Podobnyy, a Russian intelligence agent.

The investigation of Wolfe came to light this week after the committee said that it was cooperating with the Justice Department "in a pending investigation arising out of the unauthorized disclosure of information".

What is known today is that in December 2013, the Temple University intern had begun a romantic relationship with James A. Wolfe, a man 30 years her senior.


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