Rep. Devin Nunes Apologizes After Skirting Committee On Surveillance Claims

Cheryl Sanders
March 24, 2017

The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee has confirmed that the intelligence community collected information about US citizens involved in the Trump transition on numerous occasions.

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes said that President Donald Trump's personal communications may have been picked up by investigators through "incidental collection". "I believe it was all obtained legally", Nunes said, later calling it "normal, foreign surveillance". Nunes said the monitored material was "widely disseminated" in intelligence reports.

House intelligence committee members slammed Nunes for taking it upon himself to pass on the unsubstantiated concerns, saying the action raised serious questions about Nunes' ability to head the committee and conduct an impartial investigation into the Trump campaign's possible ties to Russian Federation.

Schiff said today he was "blindsided but mostly just mystified" by Nunes' actions yesterday. A congressional aide said the chairman apologized to Democrats and pledged to work with them in the future and share information related to the investigation.

Smith noted Trump is "standing by his unfounded claim that President Obama had Trump Tower wiretapped", adding the president is "pointing to comments from the head of the House Intelligence Committee as vindication".

Comey's comments come days after his congressional testimony, in which he said there was no evidence to support Trump's claims that the Obama administration "wiretapped" Trump Tower in NY past year while confirming that Trump associates have been under investigation since July for possible ties to Russian Federation.

Nunes told reporters that it was "very clear to me" who the identities of the individuals in the report were, and that they were members of the Trump team.

When asked, Nunes said he could not rule out that Obama ordered the spying.

Mr Nunes, who said he had seen dozens of intelligence reports, said the unmasking of Trump officials may have been "inappropriate".

"FBI Director James Comey has said the FBI and the Justice Department have no evidence to support the president's wiretapping claims", Smith noted.

Schiff made headlines of his own on Wednesday, telling MSNBC that the evidence linking Trump's team to the Kremlin was 'more than circumstantial, ' though he would not offer specifics.

McCain, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee and now the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is among the few Republicans who called for a select committee several months ago. "Hey, look, in the meantime, I guess I can't be doing so badly, because I'm President, and you're not", Trump was quoted as saying to Time's Washington bureau chief, Michael Scherer, as reported by CNN.

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