Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) finally had the opportunity to review the same evidence that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (D-CA) reviewed at the White House last week. Schiff indicated that the full House Intelligence Committee should now have the opportunity to review it and that nothing about the material made a departure from typical intelligence sharing procedures necessary.
His question at the end of his statement is the most relevant: Why did White House officials apparently share information with Nunes only to have Nunes share it with President Trump? If the White House staffers wanted to leak the information to the press or if they wanted to share it directly with the President, why not simply do so?
While many in Washington are speculating that Nunes was being used by the White House to give President Trump cover for his baseless assertion that President Obama ordered surveillance on Trump Tower, the consequences of the strange series of intelligence briefings and press conferences have done nothing to confirm the President’s assertions. In fact, it looks very much like Congressman Nunes has compromised himself and his committee.
The details of Chairman Nunes’ role and the degree of his independence will come to light – very likely in a slow but painful way in the coming weeks. But the fact remains that many Americans still have questions about the role Russia played in the outcome of the election and, more importantly, the degree to which the Trump campaign coordinated or colluded with the Russian intelligence officials.