Judge Napolitano: Only Some Trump Admin Leaks Are Criminal
Judge Andrew Napolitano said Tuesday that President Donald Trump is partially correct when he says that unknown individuals involved in leaking information from inside his administration are prosecutable.
However, Napolitano warned that not all of the leaks that Trump criticizes are criminal acts.
He noted that Trump believes Obama administration "holdovers" in various bureaucratic departments are leaking information to the press and other entities that then release the findings to the public.
He said that includes partial transcripts from former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's discussion with a Russian envoy, as well as intelligence community rumblings.
"These types of leaks are criminal because they do release national security-protected top-secret information," Napolitano said.
But, leaks from within the White House proper, wherein reporters gain scoops and off-the-record details from anonymous staff members, are not, he said.
"That's the stock and trade of both people and reporters in the White House," Napolitano said, citing the First Amendment's protection of the press.
All past presidents have "articulated and recognized" the value of the press, including Richard Nixon, for whom the press may have accelerated his downfall, the judge said.