Posted: 1:30 pm Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017
By Jamie Dupree
The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee told reporters Wednesday that he has been given evidence from inside the U.S. Intelligence Community, which shows that personal communications of President Trump were collected during the Presidential transition as part of legally approved foreign intelligence surveillance operations.
“It looks to me like it was all legally collected, but it was essentially a lot of information on the President-Elect and his transition team and what they were doing,” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) told reporters at a news conference in the Capitol.
Nunes would not detail how the information was obtained – it is known as “incidental collection,” where an American citizen unknowingly speaks with someone who is under surveillance by U.S. intelligence.
“From what I’ve seen, it appears to be incidental collection,” Nunes stressed, meaning that Mr. Trump himself was not the target of the surveillance.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 22, 2017
Nunes made clear that the surveillance had nothing to do with Russia, or any investigation into Russia and the U.S. 2016 elections.
At the White House, Press Secretary Sean Spicer was waiting for more details from Nunes, but immediately weighed in on the surveillance news.
“I do think it is a startling revelation and there’s a lot of questions that need to get asked,” said Spicer.
It was not immediately apparent why Trump communications were incidentally collected, or who he may have been in touch with that was under intelligence surveillance.
Nunes made clear several times to reporters that the surveillance activities were legal, but that he was concerned about the internal intelligence reporting related to Mr. Trump.
Nunes: "None of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team"
— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 22, 2017
The revelation comes as the President has maintained that he was “wiretapped” by President Obama during the 2016 campaign.
President Trump on if he feels vindicated by Rep. Devin Nunes’ comments: “I somewhat do” https://t.co/5WJCX615rG
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) March 22, 2017
About the Author
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog. A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.