After House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) on Wednesday told the press that the intelligence community had “incidentally collected” information on President Donald Trump and his staff before inauguration, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called for a select committee to take over the investigation into Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 election.
“No longer does the Congress have credibility to handle this alone, and I don’t say that lightly,” McCain told MSNBC’s Greta Van Susteren.
The Arizona senator said that he did not “understand” Nunes’ decision to take his findings to Trump before sharing the new information with his Democratic counterpart on the Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).
“This just shows a tremendous chasm between the two senior members of the House Intelligence Committee,” McCain said after noting that the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee appear to have a better working relationship.
The senator criticized Nunes’ actions as well as Schiff, an apparent reference to comments made by Schiff on Wednesday evening that evidence of collusion between Trump associates and Russia is “more than circumstantial.”
“It is bizarre, the things that are being said. There’s no substantiation for either what Chairman Nunes said nor is there substantiation for what Congressman Schiff said,” McCain said on MSNBC.
In an unusual move, Nunes on Wednesday held two press conferences to reveal that he had learned that the intelligence community “incidentally collected” information on members of Trump’s transition team that was not part of an investigation into Russia. He said that the information had been “widely disseminated” in the intelligence community and that the information “inappropriately” unmasked identities of people currently working in the Trump White House. Nunes noted that the collection was legal but said he had a “duty” to share the information with Trump quickly.
Schiff, the committee’s ranking member, quickly slammed Nunes’ actions and said he acted like a “surrogate of the White House.”