Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., one of President Trump’s closest allies, on Wednesday accused U.S. spy agencies of abusing their surveillance powers by gathering and sharing information about Trump and his transition team.
It’s an unproven charge that was quickly embraced by the White House but threatened to derail the panel's investigation of possible Trump campaign ties to Russia.
Nunes’ refusal to disclose how he had got the documents and his unusual handling of the material — which he withheld from other committee members even while rushing to present it to the White House — were interpreted by some as a sign that his discovery was engineered to help the White House, says The Washington Post.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence panel, said Nunes’ action “casts quite a profound cloud over our ability to do the work,” and he called for the formation of an independent commission. “If the chairman is going to continue to go to the White House rather than his own committee, there’s no way we can conduct this investigation.”
Other Democrats suggested that Nunes, who was a member of Trump’s transition team, may have crossed a legal line by publicly talking about secret intelligence.
And Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called for an independent commission, saying, “No longer does the Congress have credibility to handle this alone, and I don’t say that lightly.”