Tags: Donald Trump | NSA/Surveillance | Russia | Adam Schiff | House | intelligence | committee

Rep. Schiff Accepts WH Invite to Review Russian Data

CNN's "The Lead"

By    |   Thursday, 30 Mar 2017 04:55 PM

House Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Adam Schiff said Thursday he had accepted the Trump administration's invitation to view incidental data collection on Russia and the election — asking "Why all the cloak-and-dagger stuff?" in how the White House was making the data available.

"We need to get to the bottom of whether this was some stratagem by the White House," the California Democrat told reporters at the Capitol. "Obviously, that would be deeply concerning to us.

"But I have to say that I'm more than perplexed by how these materials have been put forward and the motivations behind it," he added. "I do think that the White House has a lot of questions to answer.

"We're going to do our best to find out."

Schiff told reporters the White House has invited the chairmen of both the House and Senate intelligence panels to view the incidental collection data.

The invitation came on the same day The New York Times disclosed two White House staffers provided the information to House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes last week — and the California later shared its findings with reporters and then in a private meeting with President Donald Trump.

However, Nunes has not shared his information with either Schiff or any other committee members — leading Democrats to call for him to recuse himself from the probe of Moscow's involvement in last year's election.

The Times reported the surveillance data was provided by Ezra Cohen-Watnick, senior director of intelligence on the National Security Council, and Michael Ellis, a lawyer who once worked for Nunes who now is employed in the White House Counsel's office.

As for the two officials being called as witnesses in the House investigation, Schiff told reporters "if it is necessary for us to interview these two individuals, then we should do so."

The Democrat said, in his response to the invitation, he told the White House he needed to be assured the data was what Nunes viewed last week — making it clear it also must be shared with the entire panel as part of its investigation.

"I am more than willing to come to the White House at the earliest opportunity to review the materials," Schiff said.

"One of the questions I asked the White House in my responsive letter was, 'Are these the same materials — and if these are the same materials or any subset of them are the same materials, why weren't they presented in a more transparent way to the committee?'

"That's the diplomatic way of putting it.

"There are a lot of unanswered questions," he added. "The letter that I got from White House counsel certainly raises far more questions than any answers."

The letter, Schiff said, disclosed the incidental collection data were discovered by National Security Council staff using routine investigation methods.

He questioned why this data were not immediately made available to the House panel.

"The most significant questions at the moment is, are these the same White House staff that reportedly discovered them in the ordinary course of business — and if they are, did they just walk down the hall or across the plaza to present it to the White House staff or the president himself at any time?

"Why all the cloak-and-dagger stuff?"

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Politics
House Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Adam Schiff accepted the Trump administration's invitation to view incidental data collection on Russia — asking "Why all the cloak-and-dagger stuff?" in how the White House was making the data available.
Adam Schiff, House, intelligence, committee
538
2017-55-30
Thursday, 30 Mar 2017 04:55 PM
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