The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee has confirmed that the intelligence community collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition on numerous occasions.
Most of the information was collected “incidentally” during the transition, from November through January, Rep. Devin Nunes said at a press conference Wednesday. Nunes emphasized that he believes it was all obtained legally, and noted that none of the information was related to Russia.
When asked if he feels vindicated after being briefed by Nunes, Trump told reporters “I somewhat do.”
Nunes confirmed these new discoveries were not the wiretapping to which Trump referred in his tweets, which he said there is no evidence for, as this collecting occurred after the election. But when asked if this was intentional spying, he didn’t rule anything out.
The details about the people associated with the Administration had “little or no apparent foreign intelligence value” Nunes said, but were widely disseminated in intelligence reporting.
The House Intelligence committee will conduct an investigation following these revelations to see if any procedures were violated. Nunes said he expects the NSA to provide more information by Friday. He is still waiting to speak with FBI Director James Comey.
“It was a lot of information on the President-elect and the transition team and what they were doing,” Nunes said.
Sources came to him legally with this information, he said.
But Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, said that Nunes could not conduct a credible investigation in this manner.
“As to the substance of what the Chairman has alleged, if the information was lawfully gathered intelligence on foreign officials, that would mean that U.S. persons would not have been the subject of surveillance. In my conversation late this afternoon, the Chairman informed me that most of the names in the intercepted communications were in fact masked, but that he could still figure out the probable identity of the parties.” Schiff said in a statement.
Nunes did note that this does not change his belief that there is no evidence a wiretap was ordered on Trump Tower.
“But,” he said, “What I read was clearly significant information about Trump and his team.”