Nunes, Comey clash on whether FBI chief invited to House Russia investigation

Michael Flynn is Donald Trump's national security adviser
Image Michael Flynn was sacked as Donald Trump's national security adviser

31 March, 2017

The New York Times reported Thursday that two White House officials played a role in providing Nunes the intelligence he received at the White House last week, a report Spicer would neither confirm nor deny Thursday.

According to the Times, Nunes met with Michael Ellis, a former staffer on Nunes' House Intelligence Committee who now works in the White House counsel's office on national security issues, and Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director of intelligence at the National Security Council.

Nunes has been under heavy pressure by Democrats to recuse himself as the head of the House's investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

The White House sent a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the intelligence committees at the US Senate and House of Representatives inviting them to view documents that may be related to their investigation into the leaked information, spokesman Sean Spicer said in a briefing on Thursday.

"I certainly think we need to get to the bottom of whether this was some stratagem by the White House", Schiff said later, referring to the Times report.

Nunes has resisted, defending his actions.

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Instead, the White House continued to sidestep queries about its role in showing Nunes classified information that appears to have included transcripts of foreign officials discussing Trump's transition to the presidency, according to current and former USA officials. He would not say whether it was the same material Nunes had already seen.

SYRIA The United States is no longer making removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a focus of its policy in the war-torn country, the United States' U.N. ambassador says.

The White House has granted the military broader authority to carry out strikes in Somalia against al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants, the Pentagon says, the latest sign Trump is increasing USA military engagement in the region. He's become a controversial figure in intelligence circles, but Trump chose to keep him on over the objections of the CIA and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, according to the officials.

It is unclear if they are the same as those viewed by Nunes. They spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly by name.

He previously served on Trump's transition team.

"We received that nearly simultaneously as the time he [Sean Spicer] announced it at the press conference", the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Thursday.

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