US intel agencies formally ask DOJ to investigate Russia-related 'leaks,' as Trump uses media-bashing to raise funds

It's unclear if the Justice Department has opened any criminal probes so far.

"Do your part to fight back against the media's attacks and deceptions," the president said Friday in a fundraising email blasted out by the RNC and obtained by ABC News. "They don’t care about the truth."

And now, according to sources familiar with the matter, U.S. intelligence agencies have officially asked the Justice Department to get to the bottom of "several" recent leaks. It’s unclear if the Justice Department has opened any cases so far.

Last month, testifying to a Senate panel just days before he was fired as FBI director, James Comey refused to say whether the FBI or Justice Department had opened a criminal investigation into the "variety of leaks" tied to the ongoing Russia probe.

"Leaks are always a problem, but especially in the last three to six months," he told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "Where there is a leak of classified information, the [relevant agency] makes a referral to the Department of Justice ... and then DOJ authorizes the opening of an investigation."

But, he said, "I don't want to confirm in an open setting whether there are any investigations open."

Not all referrals to the Justice Department lead to criminal investigations -- and only a fraction of criminal investigations lead to charges being filed.

Regardless, there is little doubt that The Washington Post's recent reporting on potential ties between Trump associates and elements of the Russian government has had significant -- even historical -- impact.

Four days later, The Washington Post first reported that then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates had warned the White House that Flynn was misleading senior administration officials and could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail. Flynn was forced to resign just hours later.

"This is a fight we can't afford to lose," the president wrote in his fundraising email last week. "The future of America hangs in the balance. Our country is at stake."

One U.S. intelligence official, however, joked that the president's pitch amounted to this: "Do you like us colluding with the Russians? Send a donation!"

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