The day before he announced to reporters that Donald Trump may have been incidentally monitored by U.S. intelligence agencies during the transition, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes met with the source of that information at the White House, a Nunes spokesman told NBC News.
“Chairman 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,” said his spokesman, Jack Langer. “The chairman is extremely concerned by the possible improper unmasking of names of U.S. citizens, and he began looking into this issue even before President Trump tweeted his assertion that (Trump Tower) had been wiretapped.”
Nunes has declined to say who provided the intelligence reports he referenced, but his admission that he met with his source at the White House is fueling suspicions among Democrats that his source was someone close to Trump.
It’s unclear why Nunes would have to go to the White House to seek a secure location to view classified material, since his own committee has a secure room in the Capitol where Nunes and his aides review secret documents on a daily basis.
Democrats believe the president wanted to release the information as a way of buttressing Trump’s discredited claim that President Obama “wiretapped” him at Trump Tower during the transition. Moments after Nunes first made the announcement, Trump said he felt “somewhat” vindicated.
After saying the reports he saw suggested Trump and his team had been “monitored,” Nunes on Friday backtracked, and acknowledged that he couldn’t be sure of that. Nunes has made clear that much of what he saw involved foreigner-to-foreigner conversations about Trump and his associates, and Nunes is raising questions about whether those reports were improperly distributed around the government.