The allegation made by Devin Nunes, Republican chair of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, could bolster Trump’s heretofore unsupported claims that he was wiretapped by USA intelligence.
In an extraordinary move, the chairman of the House panel investigating Russian interference in the presidential election bypassed his own committee Wednesday to brief President Trump on information related to USA surveillance of his transition team.
The revelation could be a boost to Trump, who until a few weeks ago had alleged – without providing evidence – that his Trump Tower in NY was wiretapped before the elections on November 8 on his predecessor Barack Obama’s orders. It’s still unclear if Trump’s own communications were monitored.
After fielding more questions from reporters on the congressman’s revelations, Spicer said it was interesting that “all of the questions are in the presumptive negative towards us”.
“What I’ve read bothers me, and I think it should bother the president himself and his team, ” Nunes said Wednesday after briefing Trump privately at the White House.
The information collected – spanning the November-January period between Trump’s election victory and his inauguration – was “widely disseminated” in USA intelligence circles, he said.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said late Wednesday that Nunes may have given out classified information by communicating the information to reporters. He said the collection included Trump transition officials and that it happened after the election. Schiff decried Nunes’ handling of the matter, saying the chairman had created “profound doubt” about the credibility of their committee’s investigation.
“I believe it was all obtained legally”, he said.
Trump was less circumspect Wednesday night, as he retweeted a post from conservative radio host and ardent Trump defender Bill Mitchell.
During his election campaign Mr Trump accused North Atlantic Treaty Organisation of being “obsolete” and criticised Brussels, equating it to “like living in a hell hole right now”. “It’s nearly a little freaky”, Mitchell said.
After a few weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency, only 37 percent of Americans are happy with it.
“Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory”.
Republican Rep. Devin Nunes’ comments led the committee’s ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, to renew his party’s calls for an independent probe of Trump campaign links to Russian Federation in addition to the GOP-led panel’s investigation. The system was created after multiple revelations of abuses of power at home and overseas by agencies like the CIA – foreign assassinations and domestic spying on political opponents caused 1970s scandals that led to the creation of intelligence committees in the Senate and House of Representatives. Schiff said. “The chairman needs to think about which role he wants to play here”. That probe includes potential ties between Trump officials and Russian Federation. Nunes would not disclose how he received the new information. “He went down and talked about what he had found, so it’s interesting”, the press secretary said.
Democrats, however, want the House Intelligence Committee probe to be about Trump’s connections to Russian Federation, like those in the AP story about Manafort and those laid out Monday in an extended opening statement by Schiff.
The chairman’s revelations served to partly vindicate Trump’s March 4 claim on Twitter about being incredulous that President Obama had sunk to “a new low” by ordering a wiretap of his phones before the election.