Aides to the president are once again reeling, from questions about whether the White House provided information to House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes during his mysterious visit last week.
Asked whether she believed Nunes was part of a White House attempt to publicize the surveillance, Pelosi said: "Whether the president was aware or not is one thing, the Trump administration certainly was, and it is very freakish".
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Thursday (30 March) that the administration would be inviting top members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to see classified documents that relate to the alleged incidental capture of communications by Trump's campaign staff by USA intelligence agencies.
He blocked his investigative committee from documents that he then shared with the White House, diverting attention from the growing evidence of ties between the Trump campaign and Russian agents.
The White House quickly embraced Nunes' revelations, saying they vindicated Trump's claim that Obama wiretapped his NY skyscraper.
"I did use the White House to help to confirm what I already knew from other sources", Nunes told Eli Lake.
Spicer also wouldn't say whether the White House's sudden decision to share information with the Intelligence Committee was directly related to Nunes's move.
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Cohen-Watnick is among about a dozen White House officials who would have access to the types of classified information Nunes says he viewed, according to current and former USA officials.
"If I start going down the path of confirming or denying one thing, we're going down a very slippery slope", Spicer said.
Cohen-Watnick is the same staffer who new National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster tried to shift to another post, only to have top White House officials Stephen Bannon and Jared Kushner intervene, according to an account in Politico.
The question-and-answer session can last for up to 90 minutes, though the length of the daily briefing varies. He has a Nunes connection through his former position as general counsel to the House Intelligence Committee. Typically, the American is a suspect in a crime, is in danger or has to be named to explain the context of the report, said Fox News.
Following Nunes' press conference, the lawmaker chose not to immediately brief the other members of the House Intelligence Committee and briefed President Trump instead. "So I'm not aware of it, but it doesn't really pass the smell test". This is a body blow for Nunes, who presented his findings last week as if they were surprising to the White House.
It is unclear how Cohen-Watnick came across the documents and whether he found them on his own or whether they came from an outside intelligence agency.