The office of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) now concedes that the House Intelligence Committee chair is not sure that the intelligence community ever incidentally collected communications from President Donald Trump or members of his transition team.
“He said he’ll have to get all the documents he requested from the [intelligence community] about this before he knows for sure,” a Nunes spokesperson told ABC News on Thursday.
This lack of certainty did not stop Nunes from holding two press conferences Wednesday and briefing the White House on the “dozens” of intelligence community reports he said showed U.S. intelligence agencies “incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition,” independent of the FBI’s investigation into ties between Trump associates and Russian officials.
In those briefings, Nunes told reporters that Trump’s own communications were caught up in the reports, as were those of individuals who “currently work at the White House for Mr. Trump.”
Though he provided limited details, the California lawmaker said the information was obtained legally through Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) warrants.
Nunes said he was concerned that U.S. citizens’ identities had been “inappropriately unmasked,” although Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, took issue with that contention.
“Based on what the chairman told me, the names were masked apart from a single name which wasn’t necessarily anyone connected with the Trump Organization,” Schiff said. “The concern the chair raised with me was that the names that were masked he believed were associated with the President or his associates.”