The US Congress Representative Devin Nunes who is the (R-CA) chair of the House’s Intelligence Committee appears to have stepped outside of his oversight duties by deciding on his own to inform our republican President Donald Trump of intelligence information that he garnered which may offer some nebulous cover for the president’s suspicions that he has been the subject of a wiretap/ surveillance by the previous administration.
This may end up to be nothing of significance but it shows that Mr. Nunes acted in a partisan manner. This is a serious breach of what his role as chair for the US House’s Intelligence Committee is supposed to be.
Here is the rest of the story…
On 3/22/17, Byron Tau of The Wall Street Journal is reporting the following:
“The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Wednesday that some communications from people involved in President Donald Trump’s transition operation were intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies.”
“Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Rep. Devin Nunes (R, Calif.) said the surveillance of the incoming president’s team appeared to be what is called “incidental” collection, meaning that Trump transition officials whose communications were intercepted weren’t the intended targets of the surveillance.”
“Mr. Nunes also added the surveillance appeared to be legally authorized as part of foreign-intelligence-gathering activities on behalf of one or more government agencies. Mr. Nunes described himself as alarmed by the revelations, which he said were brought to him by sources that he declined to name.”
“Mr. Nunes’s comments add to a deepening mystery around Mr. Trump’s unsubstantiated charge that former President Barack Obama’s administration wiretapped Trump Tower, which serves as Mr. Trump’s Manhattan home and place of business—a charge that Mr. Trump’s own Justice Department said is not backed up by any information.”
“Mr. Nunes didn’t inform his counterpart, Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee, that he planned to make his Wednesday announcement, according to a spokesman for the California Democrat.”
“Mr. Nunes, who is leading a congressional investigation into Russian interference in U.S. elections, also said the information collected by the U.S. intelligence agencies didn’t seem to be related to any investigation of Russia.
Democrats and their allies have questioned Mr. Nunes’s independence from the White House, given that he served on the executive committee of Mr. Trump’s transition operation.
“His political agenda is getting in the way of an unbiased investigation, and this latest development further demonstrates the need for a special prosecutor to oversee this investigation,” said Sabrina Singh, a spokeswoman for the liberal group American Bridge.
Reading a brief statement to reporters on Capitol Hill on Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Nunes said, “I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition.” He added, “Details about U.S. persons associated with the incoming administration—details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value—were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting.”
According to Mr. Nunes, the intercepted communications came in November, December and January—during the period after Mr. Trump won the election but before he was sworn in as president on Jan. 20. During this period, Mr. Trump’s transition team got government office space and resources to help prepare for the transfer of power between the outgoing Obama administration and the incoming Trump administration.”
“White House press secretary Sean Spicer later Wednesday read aloud Mr. Nunes’s remarks and confirmed that he would visit the White House later Wednesday to brief the president.”
Mr. Spicer called the announcement a “startling revelation” but declined to comment further until Mr. Nunes briefs the president.
“I don’t want to start talking or guessing what he may say,” Mr. Spicer said.”
“Earlier this week, FBI Director James Comey said in a hearing in front of the Intelligence Committee that the bureau was conducting an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and whether members of Mr. Trump’s campaign collaborated in any way.”
“Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter this month that Mr. Obama had tapped Trump Tower during the 2016 election, a claim Mr. Obama forcefully rejected through a representative. “This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
“But the bipartisan leadership on Capitol Hill, including members with access to classified information, haven’t substantiated Mr. Trump’s claims. The two top members of the House Intelligence Committee also repudiated Mr. Trump’s claims. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) chimed in Thursday, saying that “we’ve seen no evidence” for the wiretapping claims.”
“In a Monday hearing in front of the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Comey said both the FBI and the Department of Justice reached the same conclusion.”