Former Senate Intel Committee aide, James A. Wolfe, 57, was arrested on Thursday after the DOJ conducted an investigation into classified information leaks to reporters.
The Justice Department also seized years’ worth of phone and email records from New York Times reporter, Ali Watkins.
The former aide, James A. Wolfe, 57, was charged with lying repeatedly to investigators about his contacts with three reporters. According to the authorities, Mr. Wolfe made false statements to the F.B.I. about providing two of them with private information related to the committee’s work. They did not say whether it was classified.
Mr. Wolfe was slated to appear before a federal judge on Friday in Washington. Reached Thursday evening before his arrest, Mr. Wolfe declined to comment.
Mr. Wolfe’s case led to the first known instance of the Justice Department going after a reporter’s data under President Trump.
According to the NY Times, Ali Watkins was having a romantic relationship with the Senate Intel aide, Wolfe. Some of their communication back and forth took place before she was employed by The New York Times.
A mysterious move by the Senate Wednesday night turned out to be part of a Justice Department inquiry into the former Senate Intelligence Committee aide who may have leaked classified information.
The Senate unanimously approved a resolution allowing the committee to provide records to the Justice Department in response to a request related to the investigation.
Portman, who is not a member of the intelligence committee, then made the standard request heard multiple times each day on the Senate floor: “I ask unanimous consent that the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate.”
No one objected, meaning the Senate approved the resolution.
The Senate often conducts business and approves measures via “unanimous consent.” That means no member objects to approving a given matter. Such issues are typically cleared with all 100 senators in advance. However, many aides and senior sources were unaware that the resolution was coming to the floor.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and ranking member Mark Warner, D-Va., issued a joint statement Wednesday:
“As noted in the Senate Resolution, the Department of Justice has sought the assistance of the Committee in a pending investigation. The Committee is cooperating with the Department on this matter. Any questions about the investigation should be directed to the Department of Justice.”
A few weeks ago, President Trump put White House leakers on notice.
“We will find out who they are,” said the President after referring to leakers as “traitors and cowards.”