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House Intel Chairman Met Source on White House Grounds

By VOA News March 27, 2017

The chairman of the U.S. House intelligence committee, David Nunes, met a source on White House grounds before making his disclosure last week that President Donald Trump was caught up in "incidental" surveillance, according to his spokesman.

Nunes' spokesman Jack Langer told reporters Monday that "Nunes met with his source at the White House grounds in order to have proximity to a secure location where he could view the information provided by the source."

Previously, Nunes' would not say where he met his source, and has still not revealed the identity of the source.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters Monday he does not know where Nunes got his information, but said Nunes has said he did not meet with anyone from the White House staff. He said Nunes also has made clear that he had multiple sources for his allegations.

When asked if the meeting creates a perception problem between Nunes and the White House, Spicer said Nunes was doing his job to investigate allegations of surveillance and was being upfront with journalists about his activities.

Last week, Nunes' announced that he received information from an undisclosed source that conversations by Trump and his staff had been swept up in "incidental collection" activities by U.S. spy agencies targeting foreign agents.

Nunes spoke with reporters and the president about the material without informing any of the other 21 members of the House Intelligence Committee, angering Democrats on the committee who questioned Nunes' credibility.

Nunes later apologized to the committee for not first telling them about the information.

Trump, who earlier this month tweeted unsubstantiated allegations that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped his campaign while he ran for office, has said he was "somewhat vindicated" by Nunes' statement about the surveillance.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey has said that there is no information to support Trump's allegation that Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower. Trump has asked Congress to investigate.

Nunes, as chair of the House intelligence committee, is leading a Congressional investigation into Russia's involvement in the 2016 election, including possible ties between Trump associates and Russia.

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence panel, Congressman Adam Schiff, said Nunes' actions last week, including briefing Trump before committee members, "casts quite a profound cloud over [the committee's] ability to do the work," and he called for the formation of an independent commission.

"If the chairman is going to continue to go to the White House rather than his own committee, there's no way we can conduct this investigation," Schiff said.

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