House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes says the investigation of possible Russian Federation ties to President Trump's campaign will "move forward" despite calls for him to recuse himself. The White House quickly embraced Nunes' revelations, saying they vindicated Trump's explosive and unverified claim that President Barack Obama wiretapped his NY skyscraper.
"In the ordinary course of business, national security staff discovered documents that we believe are in response to your March 15th, 2017 letter to the intelligence community seeking 'documents necessary to determine whether information collected on USA persons was mishandled and leaked, '" Spicer said.
The Times identified Ezra Cohen-Watnick of the National Security Council and Michael Ellis, a national security lawyer with the White House Counsel's Office, as the two officials who played a role.
The timing of the invitation "concerns me" Schiff said, coming as it does the same day the reported two White House officials allegedly fed his committee's chairman Devin Nunes information suggesting Trump associates were picked up in incidental surveillance.
"First, I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community incidentally collected information about USA citizens involved in the Trump transition", he announces.
"BLITZER: In addition going to that secure room to look over these documents, do you have other meetings at the White House?" Schiff also said he's asked the White House if the materials he's been invited to view are the same as the intelligence viewed by Nunes last week.
Nunes first announced last Friday that he was inviting Comey back to the House on Tuesday to answer questions in a closed briefing.
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Nunes has repeatedly insisted that the events of the past week were not part of a coordinated effort between himself and the White House.
Only hours after Yates's attorney informed the White House that Yates would testify despite attempts to invoke "executive privilege" to gag her, Nunes cancelled the hearing at which she was to appear.
"If that was created to hide the origin of the materials, that raises profound questions about just what the White House is doing", Schiff said. In the letter, the administration invited him and Nunes to review National Security Council documents relevant to the investigation.
Behind the occasionally freakish details, however, lie major foreign policy disputes within the USA ruling elite, with powerful forces, particularly in the military-intelligence apparatus, opposed to Trump's apparently softer line on Russia-or at least, his shift towards confronting China and Iran first, rather than continuing with the Obama policy of confronting Russian Federation in the Middle East, Ukraine and the Baltic states. Schiff today said Nunes has yet to inform him what was the info, where he saw it, and who showed it to him.
He added that his "smell test" remark was based on Nunes's words at the time. He later went to the White House to brief them on his findings, ushering in a wave of criticism from Democrats, including Rep. Adam Schiff, the party's ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee.
"We had staff-to-staff discussions with their congressional affairs people", Nunes spokesman Jack Langer said.