Republican Congressman Devin Nunes (R-California) who serves as Chairman of the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is facing more criticism and protest in his own state over his handling of a Congressional probe involving Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
The Associated Press reported that Nunes faced angry crowds on Friday in Fresno, California where he spoke at a private gathering.
Nunes has been criticized for meeting with Trump White House officials regarding a secret intelligence briefing and then conducting a press conference with reporters before he had even informed members of his own intelligence committee about the nature of the intelligence material.
The intelligence briefing Nunes had with White House officials relates to allegations which President Trump tweeted about on March 4th involving former U.S. President Barack Obama ordering the wiretapping of Trump tower during the U.S. election season.
Speaking before reporters on March 22nd, Nunes said in a statement that while there was no physical wiretap of Trump Tower, he was concerned that “other surveillance activities” were used against President Trump and his associates.
“So first, I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition. Details about U.S. persons associated with the incoming administration, details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value were widely disseminated in intelligence community reporting” Nunes said during his March 22nd press conference.
Nunes later apologized to members of his House intelligence community for not briefing committee members in advance about the intelligence material which the New York Times reported on March 30th were provided by 2 White House officials and “is likely to fuel the criticism that the intelligence chair was too eager to do the bidding of the Trump administration while his committee is supposed to be conducting an independent investigation of Russia’s meddling in the presidential election.”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a White House briefing on Friday that what happened with Chairman Nunes in coming to White House was “both routine and proper” and claimed that Democrats were also invited to the White House, a claim that still hasn’t been verified.
White House Spokesman Spicer said he was told the material they will see will “shed light on the investigation” and maintained that on March 2nd, ahead of the President’s wiretapping tweet, comments by a senior administration official, foreign policy expert, Dr. Evelyn Farkas, together with earlier released reports, “raised serious concerns about whether there was an organized and widespread effort by the Obama administration to use and leak highly sensitive intelligence information for political purposes.”
Spicer explained that later in March during the ordinary course of their work, the National Security Council (NSC) “discovered information that may support the questions raised by the President and Dr. Farkas’s claim.”
Spicer issued some controversial remarks when he claimed that it was Hillary Clinton who was the “architect of the last administration’s failed reset policy” and said that she had told Russian state TV that it was designed to strengthen Russia.
“She used her office to make concession after concession, selling off one-fifth of our country’s uranium, paid speeches, paid deals, getting personal calls from Vladimir Putin” Spicer claimed.
President Trump caused more controversy early Saturday morning when he tweeted an insulting tweet about “sleepy eyes” NBC Meet the Press Host Chuck Todd for reporting about the “Fake Trump/Russia story” and then asked when he will start talking about the Obama surveillance scandal.
“When will Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd and @NBCNews start talking about the Obama SURVEILLANCE SCANDAL and stop with the Fake Trump/Russia story?” Trump tweeted.
When will Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd and @NBCNews start talking about the Obama SURVEILLANCE SCANDAL and stop with the Fake Trump/Russia story?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2017
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