House Intel Chair: Intel community incidentally collected info about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition pic.twitter.com/KWRA76MWam
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) March 22, 2017
On Wednesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes held a press conference to provide updates on the investigation into alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia. Nunes revealed that some relevant information had fallen into his hands during the course of digging. So, he cut to the chase while reporting that some communications by Donald Trump and his transition team were intercepted in what he called an “incidental collection” of surveillance.
As Nunes stated, the information was collected between Election Day and Inauguration Day and “was legally brought to me by sources who thought we should know it.” Nunes (who couldn’t reveal much, obviously) relayed that some of Trump’s personal discussions may have been in the mix, but here’s what this information definitely included:
“Details about U.S. persons associated with the incoming administration. Details with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value were widely circulated in intelligence committee reporting … I can confirm that additional names of Trump transition team members were unmasked … and finally, I want to be clear — none of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team.”
So, was this information collected as part of an unrelated investigation? Nunes didn’t elaborate. He further revealed that this information was obtained formally and through legal measures (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act), which may have been an attempt to ward off a Trump “I told you so” about his baseless wiretapping accusation against Obama.
Nunes revealed that while this information was legally collected (and he does not in any way lend credence to Trump’s wiretapping tweets), he’s still “concerned” and says he will soon brief Trump on what was collected. Get ready for a tweetstorm? (This hasn’t happened yet, but see an update below.)
You can watch the full Nunes press conference below.
UPDATE #1 – 3:40pm EST: Trump has reacted to Nunes’ briefing and says he feels “somewhat” vindicated by this news, although there’s no reason for him to draw a conclusion. The surveillance took place at a different time than Trump suggested in his ragey wiretap tweets, and Nunes did not indicate that any of this involved Trump Tower.
— CNN (@CNN) March 22, 2017