It appears Trump may have been right, again.
Two days after FBI director Comey shot down Trump’s allegation that Trump was being wiretapped by president Obama before the election, it appears that president Trump may have been on to something because moments ago, the House Intelligence Chairman, Devin Nunes, told reporters that the U.S. intelligence community incidentally collected information on members of President Trump’s transition team, possibly including Trump himself, and the information was “widely disseminated” in intelligence reports.
As AP adds, Nunes said that President Donald Trump’s communications may have been “monitored” during the transition period as part of an “incidental collection.”
Nunes told a news conference Wednesday that the communications appear to be picked up through “incidental collection” and do not appear to be related to the ongoing FBI investigation into Trump associates’ contacts with Russia. He says he believes the intelligence collections were done legally, although in light of the dramatic change in the plotline it may be prudent to reserve judgment on how “incidental” it was.
“I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community collected information on U.S. individuals involved in the Trump transition,” Nunes told reporters.
“Details about U.S. persons involved in the incoming administration with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value were widely disseminated in intelligence community reports.”
The information was “legally brought to him by sources who thought we should know it,” Nunes said, though he provided little detail on the source.
BREAKING!!! Rep Devin Nunes (Intel Cmte Chmn):
There was “Incidental collection” of @realDonaldTrump thru IC surveillance <- BOMBSHELL
— Eric Bolling (@ericbolling) March 22, 2017
Nunes also said that “additional names” of Trump transition officials had been unmasked in the intelligence reports. He indicated that Trump’s communications may have been swept up.
The House Intel Chair said he had viewed dozens of documents showing that the information had been incidentally collected. He said that he believes the information was legally collected. Nunes said that the intelligence has nothing to do with Russia and that the collection occurred after the presidential election.
Nunes said he briefed House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on the revelation and will inform the White House later today. Nunes’ statement comes after he and other congressional leaders pushed back on Trump’s claims that former President Obama had his “wires tapped” in Trump Tower ahead of the election.
Nunes said Wednesday that it was unclear whether the information incidentally collected originated in Trump Tower.
The revelation comes in the wake of the committee’s explosive hearing on Monday, at which FBI Director James Comey confirmed that the bureau has been investigating Russia’s election hacking since July, which includes probing possible coordination between members of Trump’s presidential campaign and Moscow.
The meeting represented the panel’s first open hearing on its investigation into Russia’s election meddling and also featured testimony from NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers.
Nunes says the communications of Trump associates were also picked up, but he did not name those associates. He says the monitoring mostly occurred in November, December and January. He added that he learned of the collection through “sources” but did not specify those source
Politico adds that Nunes is going to the White House later Wednesday to brief the Trump administration on what he has learned, which he said came from “sources.”
Nunes says he is “bothered” by this. Won’t say whether or not intel community spied on Trump et. al. But says he is “concerned.”
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) March 22, 2017
While there are no further details, we look forward to how the media narrative will change as a result of today’s latest dramatic development.