Members of Congress refute Nunes' accusations of surveillance on Trump

Members of Congress refute Nunes' accusations of surveillance on Trump

Trump had called the unmasking - an action by which a U.S. citizen's identity is revealed in the course of routine federal surveillance - "one of the big stories of our time" in a New York Times interview last week. Trump had claimed the matter was a "massive story".

After dark on March 21, Nunes is said to have met secretly with two White House attorneys to view intelligence reports that allegedly show Trump campaign associates incidentally swept up in foreign surveillance.

A congressional intelligence official told CNN that Rice's requests, particularly for her high-level advising role, appeared "normal and appropriate".

"And another source said there's "absolutely" no smoking gun in the reports, urging the White House to declassify them to make clear there was nothing alarming in the documents", CNN reports.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page also was monitored by the FBI after the agency obtained a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant as part of an ongoing investigation into possible links between Russian officials and members of the Trump campaign.

Trump said last week that Rice may have committed a crime when asked for the names of his associates that were talked about it in the classified reports.

'Perhaps I didn't know how right I was, because nobody knew the extent of it'. "It's such an important story for our country and the world", he added, calling it, "truly one of the big stories of our time". "I believe Susan Rice abused this system and she did it for political purposes", Republican Sen.


"Losing 14 minutes of audiotape in comparison to this is a little spat in the sandbox in the kindergarten", Gorka said.

Rice told MSNBC that she was carrying out routine duties in making the requests, and did so to understand the "context" or "importance of the report".

"The notion that some people are trying to suggest, is that by asking for the identity of a person is leaking it, is unequivocally false", she said.

If the names were unmasked in intelligence reports and then leaked to the media for political reasons, it could constitute criminal behavior.

On March 22, Nunes said that while there was no indication unlawful survaillance of Trump transition officials occurred, the reports in question were concerning to him because US citizens' identities were revealed, or "unmasked", in them. Trump supporters who note the lack of hard evidence of Trump-Russia connections might understandably argue that using surveillance powers to keep tabs on the opposing party and incoming administration is the stuff of banana republics.

Last week, Republican and Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee finally got a chance to see Nunes's incendiary documents for themselves. He reviewed the documents on White House grounds with the help of White House officials, despite House Speaker Paul Ryan saying Nunes informed him that the information came from a "whistleblower".

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