White House invites lawmakers to see intelligence material

Posted March 31, 2017

Nunes delivered the letter to the top Democrat on the investigation, Rep. Adam Schiff, but Schiff refused to sign the invite, saying he wanted to hold the public hearing they agreed on, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The Times story said Cohen-Watnick found classified reports of top foreign officials talking about developing connections with Trump's family and allies.

There were indications that Nunes was coordinating his actions with the White House, which sent a letter to Yates's attorney, warning him that Yates should not testify about her communications with the White House about then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, whose telephone calls with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak were monitored by United States intelligence agencies.

He questioned why the materials came to the White House by way of Nunes rather than by a more direct route.

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

This action was a clear breach of the separation of powers-congressional committees, like that chaired by Nunes, are supposed to exercise oversight of executive branch activities, not report to the executive branch in secret.

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A Nunes spokesman, Jack Langer, also told the Los Angeles Times that it wasn't a White House staffer, the Times reported. But he raised concerns that the White House may have provided the information to his Republican counterpart first, and if so, why.

But there's a problem: This conflicts with what Nunes has apparently said about his source or sources.

But Schiff argued it was up to Nunes to restore credibility in the committee's investigation. The officials said that this month, shortly after Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter about being wiretapped on the orders of President Barack Obama, Mr. Cohen-Watnick began reviewing highly classified reports detailing the intercepted communications of foreign officials. It comes after The New York Times reported that two White House officials helped Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House intelligence committee, view information on intelligence collections concerning President Donald Trump's associates.

The Senate committee, which is conducting a parallel investigation, announced that it had drawn up a list of 15 to 20 people who would be asked to give sworn testimony about contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian government officials.

That committee is trying to figure out if there was Russian interference in last November's presidential election. "In some quarters, that would be considered an act of war. We know he's attempted it previously in other states in the Baltics".

"It certainly was a part of our discussion, but beyond what we agreed to do, or hope to achieve to do by the end of the day, I really don't want to get into specifics", Schiff said.