Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley (Ill.) on Friday accused Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) of conspiring to leak documents to President Donald Trump's legal team, but added he has no evidence when pressed on whether he has proof to back up his claim.
Quigley appeared on CNN to discuss the latest activity of Nunes and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.), who recently attended a classified briefing at the Department of Justice following a subpoena issued by Nunes for information regarding special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. The Illinois Democrat said their real purpose of going to the Department of Justice was either to attack it or to "turn this information over to the Trump legal team to help them prepare their defense."
"Alright, that last part is an explosive charge right there," co-host John Berman said. "You're charging that the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee [Nunes] is handing over information to the president's personal legal team. Do you have any proof of that?"
"No, I certainly don't. What is their purpose?" Quigley asked. "Prove me wrong. None of this makes sense in the opposite direction. Trying to prove the other thing makes absolutely no sense at all, that they would be so blindly attacking the Justice Department. Why are you doing this? It's either to aid the president legally or politically, which I'm suggesting here, or just to obstruct the investigation."
Co-host Poppy Harlow pushed back and asked Quigley whether there is a risk to the American public and their confidence in the legal system by making such an assertion without providing evidence to back it up. That comment prompted Quigley to justify his accusation by saying that Nunes and the Republicans have done the same thing to the Justice Department.
"They put the Department of Justice on trial," Quigley said. "The Department of Justice is independent. This is a key component of the rule of law. I think you flip this. They don't really work for us. They're independent of us. That is the whole purpose. Otherwise we could obstruct those investigations, as the Republicans have so far in this investigation."
Later in the segment, Berman asked Quigley whether he would trust someone like Gowdy to view the documents in question if he thought there was a legal reason to view them.
"I have no reason to distrust Mr. Gowdy," Quigley said. "I have every reason to distrust Mr. Nunes, particularly upon my questioning about his memo with the White House. It is very clear that he put that memo together working with the White House."