Rep. Adam Schiff, a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, has called for Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes to recuse himself from any investigation concerning “the President’s campaign or transition team.”
He tweeted a full statement this evening:
Schiff’s call to step down is significant, as Nunes and Schiff had worked together on the bipartisan House Intelligence Committee for years. “I believe the public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the President’s campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the Chairman,” wrote Schiff.
Rep. Nunes was a member of President Donald Trump’s transition team, serving on its Executive Committee.
Nunes is at the center of an intensifying storm after The Daily Beast broke that he “virtually disappeared” the night before he revealed in a surprise press conference that certain members of the Trump transition team were caught on wiretaps pursuant to a FISA court order. FISA (Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act) courts handle sensitive, often classified, cases involving terror and international crime. Not even Nunes’ aides knew where the Congressman went that night, according to The Daily Beast.
Nunes acted alone in making this information public, not even revealing the leak to other members of the House Intelligence Committee before announcing it in a public press conference. As the information was classified, the next question was his source. Today, in an interview with Washington Post’s Robert Costa, Nunes refused to reveal his source, only offering that he’d met this “member of the intelligence community” on White House grounds.
He then said he wouldn’t reveal the identity of the source in order to “protect” people who “bring information to the committee,” not commenting on why he did not take this piece of information to the Intelligence Committee.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters in a press briefing today that he wasn’t sure who let Devin Nunes onto the grounds of the White House. But Nunes viewed the classified information in a Secure Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), reports CBS. There are just two at the White House, and they are some of the most guarded spaces in the building. That Nunes would have been able to use those rooms to view intelligence without any record is unlikely, at best.
Additionally, Spicer and all White House staffers have records of everyone who enters White House grounds; even Members of Congress need to be checked in and cleared by White House staff after submitting a form providing information about themselves and the visit.
When asked about those records, Spicer said “I’ll be glad to check on that […] I’m not sure that that’s how that works.”