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‘Isn’t that a Counter Leak?’: CNN’s Jim Sciutto Grills House Intel Chair for Speaking to Reporters on Russia

During a press gathering on Capitol Hill this morning, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) — the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee — was pressed by CNN correspondent Jim Sciutto over his condemnation of government leaks to the media while simultaneously contacting reporters to help knock down reports.

Nunes called the gaggle to discuss the FBI investigation into alleged contacts between Donald Trump‘s campaign and Russian intelligence officials. Last week, it was reported that the White House tried to get officials in the FBI to refute stories surrounding the investigation. While the FBI wouldn’t comply, two lawmakers who chair integral committees — Nunes and Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee — did contact reporters to push back.

With Nunes having decried leaks from the White House and intelligence community to reporters, Sciutto wanted to know how he could square that with his own actions.

“If it is a major crime for leakers to discuss classified information relating to these communications and elsewhere, why is it not inappropriate for the White House and you and Senator Burr to call reporters and give your own interpretation of, again, a continuing investigation that involves classified information?” Sciutto asked. “Isn’t that a counter leak, as it were? You’re still discussing the investigation.”

“I would never talk about classified information with any of you, because that would be a crime,” Nunes responded.

After, Sciutto shot back that Nunes is also trying to say there is nothing to the information that has come out, but still there is an ongoing investigation with classified information at its core.

Nunes answered by immediately pivoting to the White House’s relationship with the media, and how now that they are trying to communicate with them, “now that’s suddenly wrong.” He then finished by saying if he found that WH Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was speaking to Russian agents, he’d make sure to subpoena him.

It should be noted that Nunes was named to Trump’s transition team following Trump’s election victory.

Watch the clip above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

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Follow Justin Baragona on Twitter: @justinbaragona

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