WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House refused to say on Thursday whether it secretly fed intelligence reports to a top Republican investigating possible coordination between Russian Federation and the 2016 Trump campaign.
The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, Adam Schiff, confirmed during a news conference later Thursday that he was invited to the White House to view intelligence documents, but in a public reply to the White House he expressed "profound concern" with the way the materials were being made available to the committee. Russian Federation mounted a campaign of "propaganda on steroids" seeking to influence the 2016 US presidential election, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee says, listing several areas of concern about possible links to Republican Trump's campaign. Nunes, a member of Trump's transition team, claimed the intelligence he was shown proved that information on members of Trump's transition team, as well as possibly the president himself, was "incidentally collected" by the intelligence community during the transition period on "numerous occasions". The FBI has been looking into this, as they mentioned at the hearing. He told reporters last week that he had seen troubling information about the improper distribution of Trump associates' intercepted communications, and he briefed the president on the material, all before informing his Democratic counterpart on the House committee.
"We received that nearly simultaneously as the time he [Sean Spicer] announced it at the press conference", the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Thursday.
A White House spokesperson declined to comment, explained NYT.
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Cohen-Watnick is a former Defence Intelligence Agency official who was originally brought to the White House by Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser. The material, he said, responded to the House Intelligence Committee's request for "documents necessary to determine whether information collected on US persons was mishandled and leaked". "I don't know why he would brief the speaker and then come down here to brief us on something that we would have briefed him on", Spicer said last week.
The House panel's work has been deeply, and perhaps irreparably, undermined by Nunes' apparent coordination with the White House.
Early last week, White House officials privately encouraged reporters to look into whether information about Trump associates had been improperly revealed in the intelligence gathering process.
"They don't need our chairman to deliver something to the president", Schiff said.