Media lapped up House Intel Committee ranking member Adam Schiff’s hastily called news conference today, at which he said he did in fact receive an invitation from the White House to come look at some documents.
The White House counsel said in the invite that the documents were uncovered by National Security Council officials in the ordinary course of business, Schiff told reporters.
The timing of the invitation “concerns me” Schiff said, coming as it does the same day the New York Times reported two White House officials allegedly fed his committee’s chairman Devin Nunes information suggesting Trump associates were picked up in incidental surveillance.
Nunes went to the White House grounds to look at the information without informing Schiff, then held a Must-See-TV news conference to say he’d gotten hold of some hot stuff, then went to the White House to inform President Trump of the details. Schiff today said Nunes has yet to inform him what was the info, where he saw it, and who showed it to him.
Schiff got today’s White House invite simultaneous with Sean Spicer’s press briefing at which the White House press secretary announced the offer was going out to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate intel committees.
Schiff said he does not know if the information he is going to see is the same as that referenced in The New York Times article. The Times report indicated that two National Security Council staffers allegedly presented Nunes with documents validating President Donald Trump’s Twitter claim that Obama wiretapped him.
If, in fact, it was info White House staffers found in the ordinary course of their work, why all the “cloak and dagger stuff” with Nunes, instead of taking the information straight to Trump, Schiff questioned. The circuitous route might have been “designed to hide the origins of the information,” he suggested, which “raises profound questions about what the White House is doing.”
“Why all the subterfuge?” he asked.
“I want to make one point clear: This issue is not going to distract us from doing our Russia investigation,” Schiff insisted. “If that is the object, it will not be successful. We will not be deterred or distracted.”