White House invites lawmakers to see intelligence material

Two White House officials helped provide intelligence reports to House Intelligence Committee Chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., according to New York Times report Thursday.

"A letter was transmitted just recently to the ranking member and chairman of the House and Senate intelligence committees that said in the ordinary course of business, national security staff discovered documents that we believe are in response to your March 15, 2017 letter to intelligence community", Spicer stated.

The Times identified the officials as Ezra Cohen-Watnick, senior director for intelligence at the National Security Council and Michael Ellis, who works on national security issues at the White House Counsel's office, and who used to be a House Intelligence Committee staffer. "The specific sucking in question involves Nunes' unsubstantiated claims that he's seen documents from a secret source that he met at the White House proving that Trump aides were incidentally caught up in government surveillance of foreign agents".

Spicer added during the Thursday briefing that he does not know who cleared Nunes into the White House.

But he suggested the information being made available to lawmakers related to Trump's wiretapping claims, which the President levied on Twitter earlier this month but which officials have struggled to back up.

The White House has granted the military broader authority to carry out strikes in Somalia against al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants, the Pentagon says, the latest sign Trump is increasing USA military engagement in the region.

Nunes and his committee are conducting the investigation into Russian meddling in the election and alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

In the letter, Schiff asked White House if the materials he's been invited to view are the same as the intelligence viewed by Nunes last week.

"There's a belief that the President has maintained that there was surveillance that occurred during the 2016 election that was improper and that we want people to look into this and to take the legal, responsible steps to both understand it and then address it", Spicer said.

A number of Democrats, and even a Republican legislator, have called on Nunes to recuse himself from the investigation.

- Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) March 30, 2017Nunes has faced criticism since the revelation that he secretly went to the White House last week, meeting with a source who gave him the information.

The report did not make clear exactly what the pair did to assist Nunes.

  • Joey Payne