White House tells Russia probers: Come see intel yourselves

Posted March 31, 2017

Then, according to the Post, two congressional staffers see him get into another auto and pull away.

Nunes earlier this month said he had been shown information indicating that the US intelligence community incidentally collected information on members of President Trump's transition team.

Trump, later that day, said the information Nunes provided him "somewhat" vindicated his unfounded claim that he was surveilled by Obama's administration.

The technical term is "incidental intelligence", which is when spies pick up information about a subject who are not the focus of their investigation.

Mr. Cohen-Watnick is a former Defense Intelligence Agency official who was originally brought to the White House by Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser.

Devin Nunes calls a press conference outside the Capitol.

Afterwards, Nunes emerges onto the White House lawn to speak to a gaggle of reporters waiting there.

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He added that he believed the intelligence was legally obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and was not related to the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling in last year's presidential election - which, he said, made it fair to share with the president.

Nearly immediately, Democrats and also some Republicans step up to call foul.

Nunes has been under heavy pressure by Democrats to recuse himself as the head of the House's investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

And remember, the President and his campaign staff are targets of that probe.

Schiff says to the press that, when Nunes bypassed the committee and shared info with the President, he put the entire investigation under a cloud. He has declined to name them, but he and a spokesman have reportedly said and/or strongly suggested it wasn't White House staff. Cohen-Watnick serves as the senior director for intelligence at the NSC. Senate Republicans who have opposed Trump's foreign policy shift on Russia, such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham, condemned the actions of Nunes as "bizarre" and joined with Democratic calls for his ouster, and for the establishment of an independent commission into the alleged Russian intervention in the United States elections. "We are focused on the substance of it and I think the goal is to make sure people have the substance that are looking into this".

"BLITZER: In addition going to that secure room to look over these documents, do you have other meetings at the White House?"

Nunes also cancelled regularly scheduled meetings of the committee on Monday and Thursday at which members might have questioned his decision, and then revealed that no public hearings would be held until after the congressional recess for Easter, which ends April 25.