Rep. Nunes' charge of Trump team surveillance
- Author: Carolyn Briggs Mar 28, 2017,
Mar 28, 2017, 4:06
He instead called an impromptu press conference to announce that he had seen dozens of intelligence reports which showed that Mr Trump's aides were subject to "incidental data collection", meaning they had been caught in the crossfire as U.S. intelligence agencies were given court approval to survey Russian operatives, as opposed to being deliberate targets of USA surveillance. The intelligence corroborated information about surveillance of the Trump team that was known to Nunes, sources said, even before President Trump accused his predecessor of having wiretappedhim in a series of now-infamous tweets posted on March 4.
FBI Director James Comey confirmed last week that the agency is looking into possible Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election and whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
Despite widespread rejections of his assertions, Trump has not retreated.
In his testimony Monday, FBI Director Comey rejected Trump's wiretapping claims outright. After months of leaks, anonymous quotes from intelligence officials, and investigations by both government agencies and the media, we've seen plenty of evidence that there were ethically dubious people with vague ties to Russian Federation in Trump's orbit.
"I think the chairman has to make a decision whether to act as a surrogate of the White House - as he did during the campaign and the transition - or to lead an independent and credible investigation", he said. He is not sure whether Trump officials were part of the conversations collected by United States intelligence, or whether their names were simply mentioned by two foreign persons under USA surveillance. "And today, [House Intelligence Committee Chair] Devin Nunes just had a news conference".
"For the most part, the reports have value for intelligence", Nunes said.
Nunes said he wanted the NSA, FBI, and Central Intelligence Agency to turn over requested surveillance information to the full House committee. "It definitely goes beyond what happened to Gen. Flynn".
During the interview, Trump repeatedly refused to admit that he had ever said anything that was incorrect, and at times he justified spouting falsehoods by simply claiming that he was quoting "very respected" sources in the media. He questioned whether Nunes could be a fair and independent manager of the Russia-Trump probe.
"This could be a lot of theatrics", said Speier, also a member of the House intelligence committee.
However, rather than sharing the information with Schiff, Nunes scampered over to the White House to brief the president, and then reporters.
"He said he'll have to get all the documents he requested from the (intelligence community) about this before he knows for sure", his spokesman, Jack Langer, said earlier. In a later interview with NBC News, Schiff raised the stakes of such an investigation, dangling that "there is more than circumstantial evidence now" of collusion, though he wouldn't elaborate.
Schiff likened Nunes's moves to a "dodge".
The scheduled witnesses, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan and former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, were in office when the purported hacking and disinformation by Russian Federation to influence the election took place. On Thursday morning, Nunes apologized to Schiff and other Democrats during a 20-minute meeting on Capitol Hill. "We agreed that many of these hearings would be done in open session".