Schiff Knocks Nunes’ Bold Claims About Intel Docs As He Heads To White House

House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA), speaks with reporters about the committee's investigation into Russia's involvement in the recent U.S. presidential election, on Captiol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA), speaks with reporters about the committee's investigation into Russia's involvement in the recent U.S. presidential election, on Captiol Hill in Washing... House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-CA), speaks with reporters about the committee's investigation into Russia's involvement in the recent U.S. presidential election, on Captiol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) MORE LESS

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, is headed to the White House Friday afternoon to review documents purporting to show incidental collection of information about Trump administration officials.

In a statement, he cautioned against drawing alarmist conclusions about this legal incidental collection stemming from routine foreign surveillance. His comments read as a pointed rebuke of his committee’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who said he was “alarmed” by what he perceived as surveillance of the Trump transition staff.

“My staff director and I plan to review the documents at the White House, fully cognizant of the fact that in the absence of the appropriate agency representatives it will not be possible to understand the full content and context of any documents we may review,” Schiff said.

He said he was not sure if the documents the White House invited him to view would be the same as those Nunes saw. The Washington Post and New York Times have reported that White House officials actually flagged these intelligence reports to Nunes and helped him to view them during a visit to White House grounds, one day before he went public with these claims. The chairman has refused to disclose his sources.

Schiff said he wanted all of the relevant documents made available to both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, as well as the relevant intelligence agencies. He also called for transparency from the White House on what role it may have played in digging up this information and bringing it to Nunes.

“If these documents are the same as those shared with our Chairman over a week ago, the White House must fully disclose what role it appears to have played in concealing that the White House was the very source of documents presented to the White House,” he wrote.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Friday called Nunes’ secret visit “routine and proper.”

Read the full statement below:

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee, released the following statement:

“Today, my staff director and I plan to review the documents at the White House, fully cognizant of the fact that in the absence of the appropriate agency representatives it will not be possible to understand the full content and context of any documents we may review. For that reason and because any issues regarding minimization procedures — if that is the subject matter here — are issues properly within our ordinary oversight responsibilities, I will be urging the Administration to make all these documents available to the full House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Since I will not be able to discuss the content of anything I review — and no conclusions can be drawn from an inability to do so — it is all the more important that these documents be made available to not only our committees, but to the relevant agencies. Finally, if these documents are the same as those shared with our Chairman over a week ago, the White House must fully disclose what role it appears to have played in concealing that the White House was the very source of documents presented to the White House.”

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