Wolfe pleads not guilty to mul­ti­ple per­jury charges

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY JEFF MOR­DOCK

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.

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