There has been obvious contention in recent months as the House Intelligence Committee digs into the origins of the Trump/Russia collusion investigation and the Department of Justice seeks to protect sources, methods and their own investigations.
That conflict appears to have boiled over into attacks by anonymous DOJ officials against a key Intel committee staffer, published in The New York Times, and it has South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy fighting mad.
According to Fox News, the report from The Times alleged that an unnamed former DOJ official said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein felt “misled” by a staffer named Kash Patel in regard to Patel’s travels to London to investigate Christopher Steele, author of the anti-Trump dossier.
That story in the Times also alleged that committee investigators like Patel were only concerned with “mining government secrets” that could be used as weapons against political enemies.
“I would have a lot more respect for DOJ or House committee Democrats if they would take out their frustrations on members of Congress, and leave staffers alone,” Gowdy told Fox on Monday.
“The members make the final decision and are responsible for them, not staffers,” Gowdy continued.
Gowdy praised Patel and added, “I benefit from him giving me the other side of the argument. He is a great career prosecutor and defense attorney. It is sad when you pick on staffers who are doing the right thing for their member or committee.”
Committee chair Devin Nunes joined Gowdy’s criticism and stated, “Attacking staffers, planting false stories, and endangering national security by leaking sensitive information to the press, including information about intelligence sources — this is what the DOJ is doing, and this why trust in the DOJ is rapidly eroding in Congress.”
Nunes also had high praise for Patel and called him “crucial” to the committee’s investigations and suspected his effectiveness was the reason for the attacks.
Even the DOJ seemed to try to distance themselves from the anonymous attacks in the Times, as per a statement from DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores.
“As Deputy Attorney General (Rod) Rosenstein has said repeatedly, we don’t put a lot of stock in anonymous sources over here and we are committed to continuing to work with Chairmen Gowdy and Nunes to accommodate their requests,” stated Flores.
The New York Times, of course, stood by their anonymously sourced reporting and smears of the staffer.