Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) on Sunday said that White House officials funneled classified information on intercepts of President Donald Trump’s transition team to House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) as an “attempt to distract” from the panel’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
“If these were produced either for or by the White House, then why all of the subterfuge? I think the answer may come from the President himself, and you can say a lot of things about the President, but one thing you cannot say is, he’s not subtle,” Schiff said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
On Friday, Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, went to the White House to review documents purportedly related to Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that President Barack Obama’s administration “wire tapped” his phones at Trump Tower before the election.
The New York Times and Washington Post identified three White House officials that reportedly helped Nunes gain access to documents he said were relevant to Trump’s claims. The chair then refused to share those materials and sources with his committee, though he immediately briefed both the press and the White House on what he claimed the documents showed.
Nunes brushed off those reports on Friday as mostly “innuendo.”
Schiff called the circuitous route of those documents “an attempt to distract and to hide the origin of the materials, to hide the White House’s hand, and the question is of course why.”
“I think the answer to the question is this effort to point the Congress in other directions. Basically say, don’t look at me, don’t look at Russia, there’s nothing to see here,” Schiff said. “I would tell people, whenever they see the President use the word ‘fake,’ it ought to set off alarm bells.”
.@RepAdamSchiff on #CNNSOTU says Nunes actions are “certainly an attempt to distract” https://t.co/U0c10wT5o8
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) April 2, 2017