After 'Bizarre' Moves, What's Next For Fractured House Intel Committee?

FILE — Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner at the White House
After 'Bizarre' Moves, What's Next For Fractured House Intel Committee?
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28 March, 2017

No president can legally order a wiretap against a USA citizen. The Congressional committees were formed in the 70's as watchdogs over those intelligence agencies to ensure they weren't overreaching.

Barring the appointment of an independent commission, which Democrats continue to call for, Turley said that the House intelligence committee will play an integral role in producing an investigation the American people can trust.

On Friday Nunes said he can't figure out why the names he's seen were not hidden.

The opportunity to conduct that type of investigation had two severe setbacks this week.

Schiff accused commitee Chairman Devin Nunes, a Republican also of California, of acting as a "surrogate of the White House" after announcing that Trump transition officials were put under inadvertent surveillance after November's election and then briefed Trump about it.

"I don't think that anyone should have any doubt about what is really going on here", Schiff said.

Schiff told NPR on Thursday morning that Nunes stillhadn't shared the intelligence in question with his colleagues on the committee. "The dimensions of this are huge. That's never happened before", he said.

A House Intelligence Committee hearing on Monday heard two bombshells dropped in testimony.

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White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Friday that it was a question he could not answer. "The president used the word wiretap in quotes to mean broadly surveillance and other activities", Spicer said. The potential is enormous for politics in the current president's administration with the current president's disregard for facts and even disrespect for the institution of the presidency.

With the denial by the nation's top enforcement official, the controversy appeared dead. He held his press conference on Wednesday to make the vague announcements, which he was later forced to walk back.

However, U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the House Intelligence Committee chairman, claimed this week that he had "seen intelligence reports that clearly show that the president-elect and his team were, I guess, at least monitored", albeit it "lawfully" and in "incidental" surveillance related to an investigation of members of Trump's campaign to see if they had colluded with Russian intelligence to influence the election. "Details about persons associated with the incoming administration - details with little apparent foreign intelligence value - were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting".

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) said he still hasn't seen Nunes' evidence and but believes it was "unrelated" to the committee's Russian Federation investigation.

"I don't say that lightly", he said.

According to Nunes, former National Intelligence Committee director James Clapper, former CIA director John Brennan and former deputy Attorney General Sally Yates have all agreed to provide testimony on whether the Obama Administration was investigating members of Donald Trump's campaign team for their ties to Russian Federation.

The partisan divide over the House Intelligence Committee´s probe of Russian interference in the United States presidential election deepened on Friday, when the committee´s top Democrat suggested its Republican chairman cancelled a public hearing after pressure from the White House. Earlier this week Nunes drew skepticism when he revealed to the press and the White House that he had new information from secret sources suggesting the Obama administration had collected surveillance on members of the Trump transition team and possibly Trump himself in the course of the investigation of Russian Federation.


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