Who knew what and when did they know it?
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) made headlines, when surprising everyone who was not him, just days after FBI Director Comey testified before Congress, he held a press conference to announce members of Trump’s transition team were “incidentally” surveilled and unmasked by the Obama administration.
Since making the initial claims, Nunes’ story has been dynamic and difficult to track. It’s also worth noting that Nunes was part of Trump’s White House transition team. (I imagine he saw his name in these mysterious intel briefings and wigged out. But that’s purely speculation.)
Now, Rep. Nunes claims he met with his inside source on White House grounds, the day before he made his announcement.
From his spokesman:
Comment from Chairman Nunes' spox about his whereabouts the day before his announcement Trump/associates may be swept up in surveillance pic.twitter.com/OZ06gSejbH
— Alex Moe (@AlexNBCNews) March 27, 2017
At the time of Rep. Nunes’ announcement last week, the White House claims they were surprised and were unaware of his findings.
In a press briefing Monday, White House Press Secretary Spicer said Nunes’ claims of meeting his secret source on White House grounds “didn’t pass the smell test.”
“Someone who is cleared to share classified information with someone else and is cleared is not a leak,” Spicer said.
Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, refused to rule out Monday whether Nunes’ source came from the White House but did say during the daily press briefing that “it doesn’t really pass the smell test.”
“I did not sit in on that briefing,” Spicer said. “I’m not — it just doesn’t — so 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. It doesn’t really seem to make a ton of sense. So I’m not aware of it, but it doesn’t really pass the smell test.”
Nunes said he was there for additional meetings “to confirm what I already knew” but said he wouldn’t comment further so as to not “compromise sources and methods.” A spokesman for Nunes said he “met with his source at the White House grounds in order to have proximity to a secure location where he could view the information provided by the source.”
A government official said Nunes was seen Tuesday night at the National Security Council offices of the Eisenhower building which, other than the White House Situation Room, is the main area on the complex to view classified information in a secure room.
The official said Nunes arrived and left alone.
Nunes also claims neither President Trump nor his staff was aware he was using secured White House grounds to view classified information.
Even if everything Nunes claims is true, it plays right into Democratic cries that Nunes is functioning as a White House tool to distract from the FBI’s investigation into whether Trump and his team colluded with Russia.
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