On Tuesday evening, CNN reported that both Republican and Democratic sources say the intelligence reports House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) touted in a clumsy attempt to validate President Trump's accusation that President Obama wiretapped him are nothingburgers.
Republican lawmakers made their first official inquiry into opening an investigation of reports the Obama administration's national security adviser and others "unmasked" several Trump campaign officials swept up in US surveillance operations against foreign targets during last year's presidential election campaign. "Of course they're now classified documents, but a lot of questions have been raised about the role of Susan Rice, that former Obama national security advisor and whether she acted legally in requesting the names of Trump officials who were incidentally collected in these intelligence reports". From what he can make of Nunes's accusations, Hayden is skeptical that Rice or anyone else in the Obama White House was guilty of wrongdoing in wanting to know the identities of Americans mentioned in intelligence reports about the election.
Members of the House and Senate intelligence committees have since been able to see the intelligence reports connected to Rice's requests at the National Security Agency's headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, over the past week CNN reported Wednesday. Rice may now be on the long list of witnesses the committees plan to interview. Trump told the New York Times in an interview last week Rice might have committed a crime.
"When you look at Susan Rice and what's going on, and so many people are coming up to me and apologizing now", Trump said. In some cases, rather than documenting foreign intelligence, the files included salacious personal information that if released could be embarrassing or harmful to the person's reputation, US intelligence and House Intelligence Committee sources said.
It's not that I think Sciutto is incapable of good reporting, but asking me to choose between Devin Nunes asserting on record he's seen abuses of power, and Sciutto first dismissing Nunes out of hand and later refuting Nunes with anonymous sources making subjective claims, well, that isn't much of a choice at all. He also called it "truly one of the big stories of our time".
Nunes' office did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment. "If I read it and I think, in order for me to really understand is this significant or not so significant, I need to understand who the "U.S. person" is", Rice said.
Nunes last week abruptly recused himself temporarily from the Russian Federation investigation as the House Ethics Committee announced it is investigating whether he revealed classified materials, but he is still serving as chairman of the panel. The following day, he held a press conference, disclosing the existence of those reports to the public-an act which many legal experts argue constitutes the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.