Wolfe pleads not guilty to multiple perjury charges
James Wolfe, the former security director for the Senate Intelligence Committee, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to federal charges that he lied to FBI agents about his contacts with reporters in an investigation into the leak of classified information to the press.
The longtime Senate staffer faces three charges of perjury for making false statements to the FBI. He is not charged with leaking classified information.
Mr. Wolfe’s legal team said after the hearing, they would seek a gag order barring government employees, including President Trump, from speaking about the case. He called Mr. Trump’s comments, “improper and prejudicial.”
On Friday, Mr. Trump called Mr. Wolfe, “a very important leaker” and said his arrest “could be a terrific thing.”
“I believe strongly in the freedom of the press,” Mr. Trump told reporters. “But I’m also a believer in classified information. It has to remain classified. And that includes [former FBI Director James B.] Comey and his band of thieves who leaked classified information all over the place.”
Benjamin Klubes, who is representing Mr. Wolfe, pushed back against the claims the ex-Senate staffer leaked classified information. He vowed to “vigorously defend Mr. Wolfe against this unfair and unjustified prosecution.”
“He was entrusted with the government’s most important classified secrets while working as the director of security for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for almost 30 years,” Mr. Klubes said in an impromptu press conference after the hearing. “Mr. Wolfe has never breached that trust.”
Mr. Wolfe had been responsible for managing and transporting all classified materials to the committee, which has spent the past 18 months investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He even escorted witnesses who testified before the committee in connection to the Russia probe.
Mr. Wolfe officially retired in May.
An indictment unsealed last week appears to indicate that Mr. Wolfe leaked information to reporters about Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The government also alleges Mr. Wolfe reached out to an unnamed reporter and offered to regularly share messages and phone calls.