Prison Ahead for Senate Aide Who Gave Secrets to NYT Lover

Staffer allegedly began affair, leaked classified information to an undergrad intern at BuzzFeed, now at 'the newspaper of record'

by Connor Wolf | Updated 10 Jun 2018 at 4:46 PM

Former senior Senate Intelligence Committee aide James Wolfe will likely face hard time for revealing sensitive classified information to a New York Times reporter with whom he was sexually involved, according to Joseph diGenova.

Wolfe, who worked for the Senate Intelligence Committee for nearly three decades, was arrested late Thursday and charged with lying to the FBI about information he revealed to multiple reporters. The Department of Justice (DOJ) said he lied about his relationship with the reporter and about revealing information to her.

DiGenova (pictured above left, beside Washington Examiner columnist Byron York), who was U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia under President Ronald Reagan, told Fox News host Laura Ingraham Friday on “The Ingraham Angle” that Wolfe could face a lengthy prison sentence if convicted.

Ali Watkins, the New York Times reporter who was intimately involved with Wolfe, had her phone and email records seized by the government. She previously worked for BuzzFeed, her employer when the two began their affair.

“This is part of the Trump derangement syndrome. This guy did this because he doesn’t like Donald Trump,” DiGenova said. “He was also, obviously, having an affair with the reporter from BuzzFeed, so there’s that.”

He added, "But the bottom line is, this is all part of a pattern. If it involves Trump, you can do anything you want. There are no rules, good, bad, indifferent. This guy went over the line in every conceivable way. He's going to do time, by the way. He's going to prison."

Wolfe was much older than Watkins — he was in his 50s when their alleged affair started in 2013. The DOJ indictment said she was an undergraduate student working as an intern when their "personal relationship" formed about that time.

Related: Conspiracy to Frame Trump ‘Unraveling,’ Ex-Prosecutor Says

He allegedly revealed, on multiple occasions, classified information about the committee's investigation into allegations of collusion between members of President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and Russian interests seeking to influence the U.S. election.

Watkins wrote an article last year, for example, revealing that former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page passed documents to a Russian intelligence operative in 2013. Page was an FBI informant at the time, and the case did not involve Trump.

Related: DiGenova Says Rosenstein Created Special Counsel for No Legal Reason

The Russia collusion investigation is also known as Spygate, as the FBI placed at least one and possibly several spies in the Trump campaign and conducted surveillance of Page and at least two other aides.

Special counsel Robert Mueller began his probe into the allegations more than a year ago. Trump and others have repeatedly accused his team of attorneys and investigators of conducting a partisan "witch hunt" that has yet to produce any tangible evidence of collusion.

Mueller removed FBI agent Peter Strzok from his team after the thousands of text messages he exchanged with Lisa Page, a bureau lawyer with whom he was romantically involved, revealed an obsessive bias against Trump.

"Strzok has been cooperating — that's why he didn't get fired right away," diGenova said. "He will be interviewed multiple times. He may even be given immunity at a certain point if we hear him testify in criminal proceedings against [former FBI Director Jim] Comey and others."

Trump said he's "a big believer in freedom of the press, but classified information should remain classified."

DiGenova, a vocal Trump defender, has accused Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of failing to appoint and manage Mueller properly. He believes the FBI investigation of the collusion allegations was simply a front for an alleged plot to exonerate 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton illegally and frame Trump and his associates of crimes they did not commit.

Trump said Friday before departing for the G-7 meeting in Canada, and then Singapore for the June 12 summit meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, that he is "a big believer in freedom of the press, but classified information should remain classified."

Connor Wolf covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.

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