Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano talked about calls for a new special counsel to investigate FISA abuse and argued that lawmakers can leak information to the press under a specific legal clause known as the “speech and debate clause.”
Napolitano appeared on “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday to discuss Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) slamming leakers who release information from congressional investigations.
“Anyone who’s watched Congress over the last 12 months — we leak like sieves,” Gowdy said Tuesday. “And I say ‘we’ only because I’m a member of Congress.”
Gowdy claimed that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, had leaked plenty of information about investigations in the House, a move Gowdy said had undermined the investigation.
“Serious investigations don’t leak,” he said. “The executive branch investigations, whether it’s your local district attorney or whether it’s Bob Mueller — there are far fewer leaks from Bob Mueller than there are from Adam Schiff.”
Napolitano shared Gowdy’s problem with leakers but explained that a new special counsel would be unnecessary and inefficient for an investigation into FISA abuse that was alleged in the GOP memo released by the Intelligence Committee.
“I share his frustration,” Napolitano said. “I personally know of the president’s frustration. And having been in the government myself, it is deeply frustrating.”
He continued: “But Adam Schiff has a certain protection. It’s called the speech and debate clause. Members of Congress cannot be prosecuted, either criminally, they can’t be sued civilly, they cannot be prosecuted ethically for what they say,” adding, “Translation: He can leak.”
While Schiff has denied leaking, Napolitano’s argument suggests that any lawmaker can reveal private information relating to the Russia investigation or other private proceedings without facing legal action.