White House invites lawmakers to see intelligence material

31 March, 2017, 02:00 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina Mc Carthy looks on as Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates speaks during a press conference at the Department of Justice

"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", the report said.

Over the past week, the conflict over the Trump-Russia investigation has been dominated by media headlines sparked by the unprecedented action of Nunes, who visited the White House to give Trump a private briefing on intelligence information he had received about the monitoring of communications between Trump transition officials and representatives of foreign governments.

"I can not get into who those individuals were", Spicer said at the daily news briefing.

Nunes went to the White House grounds to look at the information without informing Schiff, then held a Must-See-TV news conference to say he'd gotten hold of some hot stuff, then went to the White House to inform President Trump of the details.

"Today, I briefed the President about the concerns I had about incidental collection and how it relates to President-elect Trump", he said.

"Why weren't they presented in a more transparent way to the committee?" he asked.

Spicer's comments come as the leaders of the House intelligence committee are trying to get their Russian Federation investigation back on the rails, according to Schiff.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer last week cast doubt on the idea that the intelligence came from the White House, saying it "doesn't pass the smell test".

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Langer took the same line in response to my questions to him: "As he's stated many times, Chairman Nunes will not confirm or deny speculation about his source's identity, and he will not respond to speculation from anonymous sources".

But right now, the committee has no hearings scheduled, and even its standard meeting later this week has been cancelled.

At the center of the dispute is a formal letter Nunes drafted last Friday, inviting Comey to brief the committee in private at the same time that former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and others were supposed to testify before the committee in public.

Cohen-Watnick and Rep. Nunes both served on the Trump transition team.

Instead, the White House continued to sidestep queries about its role in showing Nunes classified information that appears to have included transcripts of foreign officials discussing Trump's transition to the presidency, according to current and former USA officials.

The committee's work has been deeply, and perhaps irreparably, undermined by Nunes' apparent co-ordination with the White House.

"I think it would be in the best interest of the investigation going forward if someone else on the committee were to lead it", says Schiff in an interview with CBS.

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