Republican supporters of US President Donald Trump are going on the offensive.
Trump’s opponents in the media and politics have led a two year smear campaign of leaks and allegedly spread lies and false information to undermine the sitting president.
But the participants in the failed witch hunt could soon find that the hunters have become the hunted. With grave consequences.
It is possible criminal charges could be laid for, amongst other things, the ‘absolutely horrific’ leak of Trump’s 2017 phone call with Malcolm Turnbull.
Attorney General William Barr will receive eight criminal referrals from Devin Nunes, who is the highest ranking Republican member on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.
One referral in particular is aimed at ascertaining who leaked transcripts of the 28 January phone call between Trump and Turnbull, as well as additional conversations with Mexican president Pena Nieto and national security adviser Michael Flynn’s communications with a Russian ambassador.
Commenting on Fox News on Sunday, Nunes said, ‘You had conversations with the president of the United States and the prime minister of Australia leak… you had leaks of President Trump talking to the president of Mexico [come out.]’
‘We all know the travesty of General Flynn… nobody knows where those supposed transcripts came from.
‘Those are just three examples that are absolutely horrific, but there’s things that are even worse that were leaked and there were only two or three reporters involved in this, so it would not be hard to get to the bottom of.’
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Turnbull was looking for Trump’s support
According to AAP, after the transcript of the Turnbull–Trump call was leaked to The Washington Post, both countries had to scramble to mend public perception of the alliance, after it was revealed that Trump abruptly cut the conversation short.
The transcript revealed that Turnbull was angling for Trump to support the asylum-seeker deal that was put in place under Obama.
With regards to the referrals, Nunes said he was unable to offer further detail as they are ‘classified or sensitive.’
Of the eight, Nunes said, ‘Five of them are what I would call straight up referrals, so just referrals that name someone and name the specific crimes.’
‘Those crimes are lying to congress, misleading congress, leaking classified information.’
The referrals involved potential abuse of the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, commonly known as FISA, which was intended to provide warrants against suspected foreign agents in the US.
A number of Republican members of congress argue that the FBI counterintelligence investigation into Trump–Russia collusion was premised on the Steele dossier, which in turn was actually opposition research funded by the Clinton campaign.
Their efforts to trace the use of this dossier against Trump, may well impact the narrative around Russia heading into the election.
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