By Amir Nasr
March 22, 2017 at 2:31 pm ET
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes on Wednesday said he’s received dozens of reports showing that communications from President Donald Trump’s transition team — and possibly Trump himself — were intercepted during the transition period between Election Day and Inauguration Day.
“I want to be clear, none of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or the Trump team,” the California Republican told reporters at a press conference. He said his panel will “thoroughly investigate” the surveillance and dissemination of that information.
While the reports show surveillance of Trump officials unrelated to the Russia investigation, Nunes said it doesn’t mean those surveillance orders don’t exist. He declined to disclose his sources for the surveillance reports.
The announcement comes two days after Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee that he had seen no information that supports Trump’s allegations that Trump Tower was wiretapped last year under orders from President Barack Obama.
On Wednesday, Nunes said he doesn’t know if Trump Tower was surveilled. He has requested that Comey, as well as the directors of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency, provide him with a full account of activities.
Nunes said he briefed House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) this morning and will brief Trump at the White House this afternoon.
An aide to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, said the California Democrat was not briefed on the reports seen by Nunes.
While it appears the surveillance was all conducted legally, Nunes said, he’s concerned that the names of Trump campaign officials were unmasked when “incidentally collected.”
Nunes at first responded “yes,” to a reporter when asked if Trump was a part of that incidental collection. He later said “it’s possible,” and that he won’t know for sure until he gets more information on Friday.
“Details about U.S. persons associated with the incoming administration, details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting,” Nunes said.
“This appears to be all legally collected foreign intelligence under FISA where there was incidental collection that then ended up in reporting channels that was then widely disseminated,” Nunes said, referring to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
This story has been updated to note that Schiff was not briefed on the surveillance reports seen by Nunes.