Rep. Brian Babin, R-Tex., has asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate reports that former National Security Advisor Susan Rice and others "unmasked" several Donald Trump campaign officials swept up in US surveillance operations against foreign targets, The Washington Times is reporting.
"Now President Trump himself said last week said that she may have broken the law", he continued, "but Don, multiple sources have reviewed the documents that Nunes saw flatly say they do not back up the president's claim that she has broken the law".
Worth noting because it contradicts Nunes's bombshell claim about improper "unmasking" of Trump staffers by the Obama administration, but frustrating because it relies on - ta da - nothing but anonymous sources.
"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.
However, over the last week, several members and staff of the House and Senate intelligence committees have reviewed intelligence reports related to those requests at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. As national security adviser, Rice could only request that the names of USA persons be unmasked if identifying them was necessary to understanding the value of the intelligence.
House and Senate Intelligence committees are investigating whether Russian Federation meddled in the 2016 election, and whether the Kremlin might have coordinated with Trump campaign associates in an attempt to help him win. As a result of these official, closed-door inquiries, sources from both parties told CNN they "have so far found no evidence that Obama administration officials did anything unusual or illegal". When you look at Susan Rice and what's going on, and so many people are coming up to me and apologizing now, they say "You know, you were right when you said that". But ranking Democrat Adam Schiff eventually secured the president's permission allowing committee members to view the reports.
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Asked to elaborate, he said simply: "I would just say we view sanctions as being a very important tool, whether it's North Korea or whether it's Syria".
"Perhaps I didn't know how right I was", Trump said, "Because nobody knew the extent of it".
"Do I think? Yes, I think", the commander-in-chief told the New York Times when asked whether he thought Rice had done something illegal. He also called it "truly one of the big stories of our time".
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".
Trump didn't specify who, exactly, constituted the "so many people" who came up to him.
Nunes stunned colleagues on the bipartisan House Intelligence Committee last month when he held a press conference announcing he had seen documents that showed "incidental collection" of information on some members of Trump's campaign team. Nunes said all the surveillance he saw was done legally and had nothing to do with his committee's investigation of Russian Federation.