Devin Nunes has some explaining to do
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 31, 2017,
Mar 31, 2017, 5:00
The committee's investigation has effectively ground to a halt after Nunes went to the White House last week with information of potential surveillance of Trump's aides, without telling Democrats on the committee first.
The House panel's work has been deeply, and perhaps irreparably, undermined by Nunes' apparent coordination with the White House.
"If we start looking into the certain things", Spicer said, "then the accusation the next day" will involve questions about why the White House looked into one matter and not another, Spicer said.
Speaking after Spicer's press conference concluded, Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking intelligence House Democrat, said the executive mansion's handling of intelligence is cause for "profound concern".
"I am more than perplexed by how these materials have been put forward", he told reporters at the Capitol. "The White House needs to answer if this was a case where they effectively tried to launder information through our committee". Nunes says other members of his committee would be able to read the documents as soon as this week.
Spicer also insisted that Nunes' decision to call off today's hearing had nothing to do with any pressure from the White House.
"Why would I?" Nunes said.
"I can only conclude that it really doesn't show what it's being purported to show", Schiff said, while acknowledging that he was just speculating since he hasn't seen the documents. Yates, it was reported after Trump fired her, had notified the White House of Flynn's lie-although the White House only acted when the news of Flynn's meetings went public.
Both the House and Senate intelligence committees are conducting separate investigations on any possible collusion between Russian Federation and Trump's presidential campaign, while FBI Director James Comey said his agency is leading its own inquiry into the matter.
At that point he noted that no one in the White House was aware that he was there. The White House quickly embraced Nunes' revelations, saying they vindicated Trump's explosive and unverified claim that President Barack Obama wiretapped his NY skyscraper.
He mocked the House committee's investigation under Nunes, saying it had become an "Inspector Clouseau investigation", and he further asserted that Nunes had lost the credibility required to conduct a serious investigation.
That public hearing, scheduled for Tuesday, would have also included testimony from former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan. Even if that is true, it would have had to have been an intelligence official with cleared White House access (potentially an official on temporary detail with the National Security Council), or Nunes and his source would have had to have been let in by someone else from the White House.
"Our investigation is stalled", said Rep. Eric Swalwell, a California Democrat and a member of the committee. "We are not as obsessed with the process as much as the substance", he said.
Nunes briefed Trump about that information at the White House.