Devin Nunes has some explaining to do

Posted March 31, 2017

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.

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.

Several current American officials identified the White House officials as Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence at the National Security Council, and Michael Ellis, a lawyer who works on national security issues at the White House Counsel's Office and formerly worked on the staff of the House Intelligence Committee.

This comes in addition to a report in The Washington Post that The Trump administration sought to block former acting Attorney General Sally Yates from testifying in the investigation into ties between the Trump campaign team and Russian officials. White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who hasn't detailed Nunes' visit to the White House last week, cited Nunes' comments to Bloomberg on Monday.

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

Nunes has repeatedly insisted that the events of the past week were not part of a coordinated effort between himself and the White House.

"If that was created to hide the origin of the materials, that raises profound questions about just what the White House is doing", Schiff said. He would not say whether it was the same material Nunes had already seen.

The California Democrat said he had a "great sense of nostalgia" seeing Senate intelligence committee leaders holding a news conference together on Wednesday, saying that he had that relationship with Nunes up until last week. Days later, Rep. Nunes announced that he had evidence, via an unnamed source, showing that Trump and his aides' communications had been collected through legal means but then "widely disseminated" throughout government agencies.

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He added that his "smell test" remark was based on Nunes's words at the time.

Nunes has repeatedly sidestepped questions about who provided him the intelligence reports, though he pointedly has not denied that he sources were in the White House.

He said he wants to know why the materials appeared to be directed through Nunes if they originated at the White House.

"We had staff-to-staff discussions with their congressional affairs people", Nunes spokesman Jack Langer said.

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