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Trump Vows That Government 'Low-Life' Leakers ‘Will Be Caught’

President Trump, who has ordered an investigation into leaks of sensitive information by government employees, may encourage the Justice Department to file charges against whistleblowers.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted that those responsible for the breaches are “low-life leakers.” He wrote that “they will be caught.” During a White House press conference a few hours later, the president told reporters: “I’ve gone to all of the folks in charge of the various agencies ... I’ve actually called the Justice Department to look into the leaks. Those are criminal leaks.” He repeated his accusation that Hillary Clinton supporters are behind the breaches.

Politico reported that Trump is particularly angry about leaked details of phone calls involving Michael Flynn and a Russian ambassador. In the December conversations, the future national security adviser allegedly suggested the Trump administration would repeal economic sanctions on Russia. Because Flynn had the discussions before he was a representative of the government, he could face prosecution. The national security adviser resigned Monday night, after admitting he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about the nature of the phone calls.

Trump, in choosing to focus on the leaks rather than Flynn’s actions, could be successful in going after whistleblowers, experts told Politico. “If somebody disclosed the contents of intercepted phone conversations to a reporter, I could see a prosecution, for sure,” said Ed MacMahon, a defense lawyer based in Virginia. “That is plainly a felony.”

Upon conviction, a government employee who leaks information concerning intelligence matters could be subject to a prison sentence as long as 10 years for each violation. Such a case is not without precedent. In 2009, FBI translator Shamai Leibowitz received a 20-month jail term for giving a blogger 200 pages of transcripts of conversations by officials at Israel’s embassy in Washington, D.C.

Neither the FBI nor the Justice Department has confirmed that an investigation is under way. “We are looking into that very seriously,” one agency spokesman told Politico.

Source: Newsmax
Photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

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