(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Steve King (R-Iowa) said he would like to see some "evidence" and "facts" related to Gen. Mike Flynn's phone conversations with the Russian ambassador before deciding if Flynn -- or anyone else in the Trump administration -- did anything wrong in their contacts with Russians.
If Flynn "spoke in general terms about sanctions...there's nothing wrong with that," King told CNN's "New Day" on Wednesday. He said he would like to read transcripts of those phone calls in a classified setting, and he noted that even Flynn has not seen the transcripts.
"I think what's most important here is the leaks that are coming out of the intelligence community, that appear to be designed to politically assassinate some of the members of the Trump administration, or at least weaken the Trump administration, and if you cannot trust the intelligence community to maintain classified information that's protected by law...you've got to do something to clean up the intelligence community. That's what concerns me the most," King said.
"I want to be able to keep national secrets and use them to protect our national security, and when you have a national security adviser who can do that, and do that effectively, then they have to find the people who are working against this administration and they need to be purged from the intelligence community."
(President Donald Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning, "The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by "intelligence" like candy. Very un-American!")
King said much of the information that's been leaked is classified information, and such information is best handled by the intelligence committees, who can get to the real substance of what has transpired between Russian and U.S. officials. "And I'm hopeful that it would go all the way back to mid-summer, if it needs to...that's a useful thing to do.
"And in the process of this, we need to find out who the leaking moles are who are violating federal law inside this government, because we can't function from a national security standpoint if we've got that kind of spillage coming out of the intelligence community.”
King gave the example of President Trump making a plan to take out ISIS in Syria or maybe Boko Haram in Nigeria:
“And presume that the intelligence community thinks that's a bad idea and they leak intel information in the same fashion that they leaked this information -- what happens to our ability as a nation?” King asked.
“We're at great risk if we have these kind of moles with this low level of integrity that are leaking information out to move their political agenda.
“If they really cared, why didn't they take it directly to President Trump, to Vice President Pence, have that conversation rather than leak it out to the New York Times and the (Washington) Post. That is unpatriotic and it's an act that undermines our American security."
King said it's wrong to "publicly indict someone when we don't have any real facts, we just have illegally leaked facts-- if they are facts at all--into the news media that's now got this story and filling in the blanks. We're starting with blanks and filling in the blanks."
According to a "timeline" of events compiled by the Associated Press, Flynn spoke to the Russian ambassador on Dec. 29, the same day President Obama imposed new sanctions on Russia for its interference in the U.S. election. We now that their call was recorded and transcribed.
On Jan. 13, seven days before Trump’s inauguration, “a senior U.S. official” told The Associated Press that the Obama administration was aware of contacts between Flynn and Russian Ambassador Kislyak, including one on Dec. 29.
But it wasn’t until Jan. 26 – six days after Trump’s inauguration – that the Justice Department, led by an Obama appointee, informed White House Counsel Don McGahn that Pence’s Jan. 15 defense of Flynn on “Face the Nation” might have no basis, given “what intelligence officials knew to be true based on routine recordings of communications with foreign officials who are in the U.S.”