Devin Nunes preparing 8 criminal referrals for William Barr

Devin Nunes

Devin Nunes

The California Republican said the misconduct from "Watergate wannabes" includes leaks of "highly classified material" and conspiracies to lie to Congress and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.

Two of the referrals are related to conspiracy - the first, Nunes said, is related to "FISA abuse and other matters".

Nunes also told Fox News that he had been working on the referrals for two years and was waiting for Barr's confirmation to send them in. "First of all, all of these are classified or sensitive".

The third referral Nunes called a "global leak referral", regarding the leaks in 2017 of President Trump's private phone call transcripts with the leaders of Australia and Mexico.

Nunes did not clarify who would be referred but said more referrals could be coming and a conspiracy referral could involve "a dozen, two dozen people".

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Some Republican members of congress allege the FBI counterintelligence investigation into potential collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump election campaign, that led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, was marred by lies and false information to obtain FISA warrants. Nunes and other Republicans have asserted the Federal Bureau of Investigation misled surveillance court judges by failing to disclose that the dossier was unverified and that it was opposition research funded by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign. Those referrals are directly related to the alleged malfeasance by senior officials in the FBI and Department of Justice during the now debunked Trump Russia collusion investigation.

The other three referrals "are more complicated" and associated with a conspiracy, he added.

The second referral that is tied to conspiracy involves manipulation of intelligence "that could ensnarl many Americans", according to the congressman.

"So we don't know if there's actually been any leak investigations that have been opened, but we do believe that we've got pretty good information and a pretty good idea of who could be behind these leaks".

As you know, we've had a lot of concerns with the way intelligence was used.

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