White House coy on claim it informed House intel chief

2 White House officials reportedly helped Devin Nunes get information that Trump was caught up in incidental surveillance

White House coy on claim it informed House intel chief

World Bulletin / News Desk

The White House on Thursday was mum on a recent report that it is the source of claims made by a top congressman that President Donald Trump and his associates were incidentally caught up in surveillance.  

Two White House officials reportedly helped House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes acquire the information he later made public, according to the New York Times. 

The newspaper named the individuals who provided Nunes with the information as Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence at the National Security Council, and Michael Ellis, a lawyer at the White House Counsel’s Office.

Asked about the report during a  press briefing, White House spokesman Sean Spicer repeatedly danced around questions regarding whether any White House official provided Nunes with the materials -- instead maintaining that the White House is "not as obsessed with the process as much as the substance".

Spicer said that the White House would make the information available to any member of the House or Senate Intelligence Committee. 

"We are willing to provide them with the materials that we have come across, and I think that is an important step," he told reporters. 

No one on Nunes' committee had seen the materials before he made his announcement, and the sequence of events cast further doubts on Nunes' ability to lead an independent investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged ties with Russia. 

He previously served on Trump's transition team. 

Speaking after Spicer's press conference concluded, Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking intelligence House Democrat, said the executive mansion's handling of intelligence is cause for "profound concern. 

"I am more than perplexed by how these materials have been put forward," he told reporters at the Capitol. 

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

Schiff confirmed that he has been invited to view materials related to the alleged incidental surveillance of Trump and associates. 

It is unclear if they are the same as those viewed by Nunes. 

Last Mod: 31 Mart 2017, 08:15
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