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Iran Press TV

Top Democrat seeks investigation into House intel. chair

Iran Press TV

Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:57PM

A top Democrat calls for an investigation into the House intelligence chair, who bypassed the panel to brief President Donald Trump on information related to US surveillance of his transition team.

In an interview with CNN on Thursday, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform ranking Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings called for an investigation of the chairman for bypassing the panel to personally brief Trump on the matter.

He called the intelligence panel a "very special committee."

"They are privileged to information that most members of Congress may never see and so you expect them to be extremely confidential," he said.

"What he did was basically to go to the president, who's being investigated, by the FBI and others and by the intelligence committee, to give them information," he added.

On Wednesday, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes announced that not only were members of the Trump transition team monitored by the intelligence community under former President Barack Obama, but also he'd be personally briefing the president about it.

The congressman said he had viewed dozens of documents showing that the information had been "incidentally collected". He said that he believes the information was all collected legally then "widely disseminated" internally.

Cummings also said that Nunes "put a cloud over his own investigation" and that "he has become the subject basically, he should be, of an investigation. It's a real problem."

According to Nunes, the intelligence collected has nothing to do with Russia or the investigation into Moscow's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

"I want to be clear – none of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team," Nunes said.

Under surveillance law, intelligence officials can incidentally collect information on the communications of an American citizen, as long as they are not the target of a warrant.

It was already widely suspected that former national security adviser Michael Flynn's communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were incidentally collected through routine foreign intelligence surveillance activities.

Last week, Nunes had pressed the CIA, FBI, and NSA for information on Trump associates who may have been incidentally spied on through the foreign intelligence surveillance law and whose names were later "unmasked" and the intelligence details leaked to the media.

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