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Republicans' concern: Leaks about the FBI investigation and Flynn's calls to Russian ambassador

Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee pressed two top counterintelligence officials about leaks to the media that led to the ouster of former national security advisor Michael Flynn after less than a month on the job.

Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) pushed FBI Director James B. Comey and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers to explain how details from Flynn's phone calls with Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the United States, were made public.

Flynn was forced to resign last month after media reports said he had discussed Obama administration sanctions on Moscow with the Russian envoy in December, and then had misled Vice President Mike Pence about the discussions.

“I thought it was against the law to disseminate classified information. Is it?” said Gowdy.

He appeared particularly irked that Flynn's name was made public in news accounts that said U.S. spy agencies had picked up Flynn's conversations while they targeted the Russian diplomat.

Comey agreed that leaks of classified information are illegal, but he declined to comment further on the investigation, saying such information would be highly classified and sensitive.

The FBI director dodged questioning by Gowdy on whether reporters could face prosecution for publishing classified material.

He said no such prosecution had occurred in his lifetime and said it would be up to the Justice Department to pursue such a case.

Democrats pressed Comey and Rogers to say if they had confirmed links between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and the Russian government.

In January, the U.S. intelligence community issued a report that said Russian intelligence agencies had hacked and leaked emails from Democratic Party officials and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's senior aides in an attempt to hurt Clinton and help Trump win in November.

Comey confirmed that the FBI was investigating potential links, but he declined to comment further.  

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