Fox News's Napolitano: Schiff has protection to leak under the 'speech and debate clause'

Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano on Wednesday argued that a lawmaker can legally leak information to the press under "the speech and debate clause."

The analysis from Napolitano comes after Rep. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyRising star Ratcliffe faces battle to become Trump's intel chief Cummings announces expansion of Oversight panel's White House personal email probe, citing stonewalling Pelosi says it's up to GOP to address sexual assault allegation against Trump MORE (R-S.C.) said on Tuesday that Congress leaks information "like sieves" to the press. He cited Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffAre Democrats turning Trump-like? Schiff offers bill to make domestic terrorism a federal crime New intel chief inherits host of challenges MORE (D-Calif.), the ranking Democratic member on the House Intelligence Committee, as an example.

“Anyone who’s watched Congress over the last 12 months — we leak like sieves. And I say ‘we’ only because I’m a member of Congress," Gowdy told Fox's "Special Report" on Tuesday.


"Serious investigations don’t leak," he continued. "The executive branch investigations, whether it's your local district attorney or whether it's [special counsel Robert] Mueller — there are far fewer leaks from Bob Mueller than there are from Adam Schiff.”

"I share his frustration. I personally know of the president’s frustration. And having been in the government myself, it is deeply frustrating," Napolitano said on "Fox & Friends" on Wednesday.

"When everybody in a room — finite number of people — agrees that something has to be kept secret, and 15 minutes later it’s out there, and you don’t know how the heck it got out," he continued. "But Adam Schiff has a certain protection. It’s called the speech and debate clause. Members of Congress cannot be prosecuted, either criminally, they can’t be sued civilly, they cannot be prosecuted ethically for what they say."

“But isn’t that on the floor of the House?” asked co-host Steve Doocy.

“Doesn’t have to be on the floor. It can be on the way to the floor or can be in pursuit of committee work. Translation: he can leak,” Napolitano said.

“And he does," Doocy said.

“Yes," Napolitano replied.

Schiff has denied leaking any information to the media in the past, but regularly updates reporters on proceedings taking place behind the closed doors of the House Intelligence Committee.