The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee Sunday questioned the White House "subterfuge" over secret documents showing incidental surveillance of Trump campaign advisers.
In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said President Donald Trump's tweets claiming an Obama administration attempt to politicize surveillance is merely a "distraction" from the panel's work to investigate Russia's "interference" in the 2016 election, and the FBI's probe of possible coordination with the Trump campaign.
" I think his tweets tell the story – and the story is 'look over there at leaks' and 'look over there at anything the Obama administration we can claim did wrong on incidental collection' or anything else," Schiff said. "'But whatever you do, under no circumstances look here at me or at Russia.'"
According to Schiff, if the documents about incidental surveillance initially shown to committee chair, California GOP Rep. Devin Nunes – and on Friday shared with Schiff at the White House – "were produced either for or by the White House, then why all of the subterfuge?"
"I think the answer to the question is this effort to point the Congress in other directions," he said, adding the release of the secret documents "doesn't need to be done by night through staff at the White House."
"The only reason to do that, again, if you want to hide where these materials are really coming from and who is behind it," he charged. "And I think part of the reason why that was done is this effort to deflect attention from the Russia investigation, to raise other issues, to effectively create a cloud through which the public cannot see what is at stake here."
"And what is at stake here is a foreign intervention in our election… about whether U.S. persons were involved and an investigation that is being conducted by the FBI into possible coordination with the Trump campaign," he said.
"The White House seems to be doing everything it can to point in other directions and say 'do not look here, there is nothing to see here.'"
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