Published: Fri, March 31, 2017
USA | By Cassandra Hanson

White House tells Russia probers: Come see intel yourselves

White House tells Russia probers: Come see intel yourselves

The New Yorker has presented what it perceives as increasing evidence House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes colluded with the White House to stop the investigation into Russian interference into last year's USA election.

"I was informed in a letter from White House counsel that the National Security Council staff found these materials in the ordinary course of business", Schiff told reporters at a press briefing.

"In the ordinary course of business, national security staff discovered documents that we believe are in response to your March 15th, 2017 letter to the intelligence community seeking 'documents necessary to determine whether information collected on USA persons was mishandled and leaked, '" Spicer said.

He added that he believed the intelligence was legally obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and was not related to the FBI's investigation into Russian meddling in last year's presidential election - which, he said, made it fair to share with the president. In response, White House press secretary Sean Spicer screamed at reporters to stop doubting the administration and talked of salad dressing.

For instance, intelligence agencies may have tapped into a phone call between two Russian diplomats and recorded them talking about Trump or one of his staffers.

The House panel's work has been deeply, and perhaps irreparably, undermined by Nunes' apparent coordination with the White House.

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After his press conference, Nunes briefed President Trump on the findings without touching base with the rest of the House Intelligence Committee.

This action was a clear breach of the separation of powers-congressional committees, like that chaired by Nunes, are supposed to exercise oversight of executive branch activities, not report to the executive branch in secret.

The White House refused to say on Thursday whether it gave the top Republican on the House intelligence committee access to highly classified materials. But he raised concerns that the White House may have provided the information to his Republican counterpart first, and if so, why.

Spicer had previously dismissed the notion that the White House had funneled information to Nunes, saying the idea that the congressman would come and brief Trump on material the president's team already had "doesn't pass the smell test".

Ellis was person who showed NUNES the information. Those individuals' names, according to Nunes, should have been masked as they were not subjects of investigation, but were incidentally swept up as intelligence agencies surveiled other individuals.

Comey said he would not testify without a formal invite, a spokesman for Nunes told CNN.

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