DeSantis Says House Intel Panel Bringing in 'Big Names' on Leak Investigation, Won't Say if Oversight Committee Will Call on Rhodes

July 17, 2017

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.) said Saturday on MSNBC that the House Intelligence Committee has brought in "big names" during its investigation into damaging White House leaks, but he would not say whether the House Oversight Committee will call on former top Obama administration official Ben Rhodes to testify.

DeSantis told the Washington Free Beacon last week that Rhodes needed to be investigated for being a source of leaks that are damaging the Trump administration and the country's national security. Rhodes advised President Barack Obama on national security and boasted in a New York Times profile in 2016 of creating an "echo chamber" of journalists to help sell the Iran nuclear deal.

DeSantis named Ben Rhodes—the former National Security Council official responsible for creating an in-house "echo chamber" meant to mislead reporters and the public about the landmark nuclear deal with Iran—as a primary source of these leaks and urged the House Intelligence Committee to call Rhodes and other former Obama officials to testify publicly about any role they may be playing in spreading classified information to reporters.

DeSantis added in his interview with the Free Beacon that he believed Rhodes had been in touch with people on the National Security Council and was behind some of the White House leaks that have bedeviled the Trump administration. He said he wanted Rhodes and any other former Obama administration officials or Obama holdovers who may be involved with suck leaks to testify.

"I want to look at that, because I think it's distorted the president's ability to simply conduct foreign relations if there's going to be selective leaking of his conversations with foreign leaders in ways that are damaging to him or at least purporting to damage him," DeSantis told MSNBC host Hugh Hewitt, the Washington Examiner reported. "That's not the way we want our government to function."

"Are you going to call Ben Rhodes to testify? You seemed to imply that in your piece with the Free Beacon," Hewitt said.

DeSantis said he has spoken with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) about it and that the Intelligence Committee had brought in some "big names" in their investigation of the leaks, but he was not "authorized to say" who they were. DeSantis is not on the Intelligence Committee but does sit on the Oversight Committee, of which Gowdy is the chair.

"I would like to bring him in to talk to him about it, because I want to figure out how all this information was getting out," DeSantis said.