In addition to the breaking news abut the FISA warrants issued against Trump adviser Carter Page, CNN has a new story that undercuts the claims of GOP House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes seeking to give cover to Der Trumpenführer's claims that the Obama White House ordered wire tapping of Trump Tower. Sadly, like most things coming out of the mouths of Donald Trump, Sean Spicer and a host of Trump apologists, the claims of Nunes appear to be lies. Brace yourself for extreme White House efforts to change the topic this morning. Here are excerpts from CNN:
After a review of the same intelligence reports brought to light by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers and aides have so far found no evidence that Obama administration officials did anything unusual or illegal, multiple sources in both parties tell CNN.
Their private assessment contradicts President Donald Trump's allegations that former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice broke the law by requesting the "unmasking" of US individuals' identities. Trump had claimed the matter was a "massive story."
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.
One congressional intelligence source described the requests made by Rice as "normal and appropriate" for officials who serve in that role to the president.
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.
Rice is among the list of witnesses that House and Senate Intelligence officials want to interview as part of its probe into Russian attempts to meddle with the US elections. House Democrats and Republicans on the Intelligence Committee are near agreement on the list of witnesses to interview, with the GOP mostly focusing on people who may have leaked classified information and the Democrats hoping to question Trump associates who may have ties to Russia.
But the House review has been thrown into turmoil after Nunes last month expressed alarm about the unmasking of US persons, including Trump advisors, caught up in incidental collection. 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."
Critics said Nunes appeared to be giving political cover to Trump in the aftermath of the president's unsubstantiated tweet last month that Obama ordered wiretaps of Trump Tower to spy on him during the campaign.
Nunes' office has not responded to CNN's request for comment.
Nunes last week abruptly recused himself temporarily from the Russia investigation as the House Ethics Committee announced it is investigating whether he revealed classified materials, but he is still serving as chairman of the panel.
Nunes needs to (i) be removed from the chairmanship, and (ii) subjected to an FBI investigation since he has (A) arguably released classified information, and (B) was part of the Trump transition. I continue to believe that beneath all of the smoke there is actual collusion by Trump and/or his campaign with a foreign hostile power. Impeachment does not begin to be an adequate punishment if these treasonous actions occurred.