Top Democrat seeks investigation into Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes

March 23, 2017 2:05 pm

Representative Elijah Cummings (Photo by Reuters)

A top Democrat calls for an
investigation into the House intelligence chair, who bypassed the panel
to brief President Donald Trump on information related to US
surveillance of his transition team.

In an interview with
CNN on Thursday, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
ranking Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings called for an investigation of the
chairman for bypassing the panel to personally brief Trump on the
matter.
He called the intelligence panel a “very special committee.”
“They
are privileged to information that most members of Congress may never
see and so you expect them to be extremely confidential,” he said.
“What
he did was basically to go to the president, who’s being investigated,
by the FBI and others and by the intelligence committee, to give them
information,” he added.
On Wednesday, House Intelligence Chairman
announced that not only were members of the Trump transition
team monitored by the intelligence community under former President
Barack Obama, but also he’d be personally briefing the president about
it.
The congressman said he had viewed dozens of documents showing
that the information had been “incidentally collected”. He said that he
believes the information was all collected legally then “widely
disseminated” internally.
Cummings also said that Nunes “put a
cloud over his own investigation” and that “he has become the subject
basically, he should be, of an investigation. It’s a real problem.”
According
to Nunes, the intelligence collected has nothing to do with Russia or
the investigation into Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 presidential
election.

Chairman
of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes at a hearing on alleged
Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election in Washington, March 20,
2017. (Photo by Reuters)“I want to be clear —
none of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of
Russian activities or of the Trump team,” Nunes said.
Under
surveillance law, intelligence officials can incidentally collect
information on the communications of an American citizen, as long as
they are not the target of a warrant.
It was already widely
suspected that former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s
communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were incidentally
collected through routine foreign intelligence surveillance activities.
Last
week, Nunes had pressed the CIA, FBI, and NSA for information on Trump
associates who may have been incidentally spied on through the foreign
intelligence surveillance law and whose names were later “unmasked” and
the intelligence details leaked to the media.

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