12:49 GMT +322 November 2019
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    In this Jan. 10, 2017, photo, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., accompanied by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington

    US House Speaker Says Leaking of Classified Info 'Criminal', Calls for Probe

    © AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite
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    The US House Intelligence Committee should launch an investigation into possible leaks of confidential information from the White House, House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a press conference on Thursday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Tuesday, The New York Times reported, citing phone records and intercepted calls, that members of Trump’s presidential campaign team and several associates had allegedly contacted Russian intelligence services and members of the government prior to the election.

    "If classified information is being leaked that is criminal. So I think there should be an investigation as to the leaks of information leaving, wherever they are coming from, and if it is classified information, that is criminal," Ryan stated.

    Earlier in the day, US President Donald Trump vowed that individuals who leaked the documents about communications of his team "will pay a big price."

    US House of Representatives Democratic Party members, including House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, said Wednesday the alleged communications between then-candidate Trump's campaign aides and Russian officials should be investigated. Hoyer called for a "very serious" House and Senate committee and oversight hearings to "get to the bottom" of the allegations.

    Earlier on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to evaluate Hoyer's calls, saying that the initiative to investigate the alleged connections was "an absolutely internal affair" of the United States.


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