A Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee said Tuesday that committee Chair Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) behavior was “what a cover-up to a crime looks like.”
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) made that charge on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” after saying that Nunes should “leave this investigation, let alone lead it.”
Nunes admitted Monday that he was meeting with an anonymous source on White House grounds the day before he claimed that President Donald Trump associates’ information had been “incidentally” collected by U.S. intelligence agencies. After making that claim, Nunes went to the White House to brief the President. But he has still not shared evidence to support his claim with the rest of the committee.
“He should be gone,” Swalwell continued. “What we saw was, going over to the White House, he went to receive information that, you know, Joe, we can receive at the Capitol. We have our own secure facility. If this was done the proper way, they could have brought it over, shared it with both parties of the committee. This is done because the White House wanted it to be done. This is what a cover-up to a crime looks like. We are watching it play out right now.”
Swalwell added later: “We were going down this investigative road together until last week. And then our chair took an exit and has driven toward the White House and hasn’t come back. That’s a problem for people who are counting on us to get to the bottom of it.”
The committee has for weeks investigated possible ties and collusion between Trump staffers and Russian officials. In March, they took up the White House’s request to investigate Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that President Obama had ordered Trump Tower to be wiretapped.
After claiming Monday that no one in the West Wing knew about his meeting with an anonymous source on White House grounds, Nunes said that he could have just as easily “snuck onto the grounds late at night and probably nobody would have seen me.”
Swalwell expressed frustration at Nunes’ stonewalling Tuesday.
“We’ve asked him for sources and, of course, he says he doesn’t share sources,” he said. “The problem with that answer is that we’re all on the same team, we’ve always been on the same team up until now. He told us last week that we’d have the information by Thursday. We haven’t seen it. We had a meeting yesterday and were told that nothing has been sent over. And the agencies, they don’t even know what he’s referring to.”
On Monday, a spokesman for the committee confirmed to TPM that it had cancelled a closed session, first announced by Nunes at the same time that he made his claim about incidental collection, with FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rodgers.
In scheduling that closed session, Nunes cancelled an open hearing, also scheduled for Tuesday, with former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan and former deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, which would have taken place at the same time.
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough reported Tuesday, citing an unnamed press secretary of a committee member, that all of committee’s meetings had been cancelled for the week.