Last night, just as the Russian-collusion hysteria was reaching a new fevered pitch on the back of reports that Donald Trump Jr. took a meeting with a Russian-born lawyer who promised juicy opposition research on Hillary Clinton, we took the opportunity to ask which was more disturbing: (i) that Jr. sought opposition research on his father's political opponent (a rather common, if utterly detestable, practice among politicians) or (ii) that various members of the Obama administration may have very well exploited the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to unmask various members of the Trump campaign thereby effectively turning the entire U.S. intelligence apparatus into a political weapon of mass destruction?
Well, apparently we weren't the only ones to have had that thought. As the Washington Free Beacon points out today, Representative Ron DeSantis (R-FL), a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and chair of its National Security subcommittee, is urging Attorney General Jeff Sessions to launch a full scale investigation into Comey's handling of a series of potentially classified memos that were leaked to the press recently as well as efforts of the Washington "bureaucracy to weaponize" intelligence information.
"This is not just standard Washington fair," DeSantis said. "It's happening on such a scale with this president that it's much different."
"Really, it has a whiff of people inside the bureaucracy who do not accept the election results, so they're rebelling against the elected president by leaking and doing things to damage him politically," the lawmaker explained. "It's unprecedented, certainly in modern American history. The way you stop the leaks is if people are leaking info that is classified, and that's a crime, DOJ has got to pursue that."
"If the bureaucracy is going to weaponize this stuff, I think Congress is going to be much less willing to give them the authority to do this," DeSantis said. "It is a big deal, and if no one is held accountable it's going to continue to happen."
And here are his thoughts on Comey...
"Congress needs to press Sessions and other people to make sure they are investigating this because the American people need the truth," DeSantis told the Free Beacon in a wide-ranging interview. "If he did violate any laws, he needs to be held accountable. If you're violating laws in service of doing political warfare, that is just absolutely unacceptable, particularly for someone who held such a high position in the government."
"Not only is he leaking this stuff, not only were the memos done in the course of his employment and likely government property, he may have disclosed classified information in this quest to basically wage a vendetta against the president because the president fired him and to try and create a special counsel," DeSantis said.
"This guy is really a creature of the swamp. He maneuvers around D.C. in ways that are very similar to how D.C. insiders operate," DeSantis said of Comey. "He's one of the best in those regards."
"Comey has made a concerted effort to not disclose these memos," DeSantis revealed. "I think Congress obviously has a right to get them."
DeSantis also expressed confusion at the Trump administration's continued unwillingness to fire Obama administration holdovers and fill the government with officials who are more willing to implement the White House's vision.
"Any Obama holdover at any of these agencies, you've got to get them out of there because clearly they're not on the same team and particularly on the [White House] National Security Council," DeSantis said.
Former senior Obama administration officials who have been tied to these leaks should be brought before Congress and questioned about their actions, DeSantis said.
"I think Congress and some members on the Intelligence Committee can call Ben Rhodes to testify," DeSantis said. "He may be able to invoke executive privilege from when Obama was president, but he definitely can't do that in any interactions he's had since then."
DeSantis identified Rhodes and other senior Obama administration officials as being "involved with feeding journalists some of these [leaks]. I believe he's in touch with people on the National Security Council. It would be absolutely legitimate as part of leak investigation to bring him in and put him under oath, and I would absolutely support doing that."
On a side note, it's unclear if Mick Mulvaney incorporated the productivity gains into his budget that would undoubtedly arise for the country if the Trump administration were to fire all of the New York Times' anonymous sources thereby freeing people up to actually be able to focus on working during the day.