Nunes Encourages Whistle-Blowers To Come Forward On Trump Surveillance

Representative Devin Nunes (R-California) said Friday that he cancelled the public hearing in favor of a closed-session meeting, possibly on March 28, involving the entire committee and the heads of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency.

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has volunteered to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, the committee's chairman told reporters Friday.

"The committee will seek additional information from the Monday hearing that can only be addressed in closed session", said Nunes.

Nunes said that the request does not have to do with controversial intelligence community reports that he has seen.

The statement left open whether he will agree to discuss his previous work as an global political consultant in eastern Europe.

"It must have been a very strong push back about the nature of Monday's hearing", Schiff said.

This was the second time Schiff has openly disagreed with Nunes this week, which is unusual for two ranking members of a committee that is generally viewed as being able to function in a bipartisan manner.

Once a member of Trump's transition team, Nunes is leading the committee's investigation into Russian efforts to manipulate the 2016 presidential election. In Schiff's view, Nunes should feel an obligation to protect the independence of his investigation - not to combat unfavorable media coverage of the president.

Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, said he was open to as much of the testimony as possible occurring in public.

"It's not just that he hasn't shared them with Democrats on the committee, he hasn't shared them with Republicans on the committee", Schiff explained. Trump has used the denials to assert that "to the best of his knowledge" none of his associates has anything to do with Russian Federation.

Schiff said that he was "not encouraged" by the events that unfolded in the days after the public hearing, beginning on Wednesday when Nunes announced that he had obtained documents from "a source" relating to surveillance of Trump's transition team.

Mr Nunes also contradicted Mr Trump's claim that Barack Obama had wiretapped him before the USA elections.

Manafort's lawyers are working out the details with the committee's lawyers, he said.

Separately, the former chairman of Trump's presidential campaign, Paul Manafort, has volunteered to speak with the House Intelligence Committee.

Trump, who in early March tweeted without giving evidence that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped his campaign while the businessman competed against Democrat Hillary Clinton, said he was "somewhat vindicated" by Nunes' statement.

  • Leroy Wright