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Nunes regrets briefing Trump before intelligence panel

The Hill logo The Hill 23/03/2017 Mark Hensch
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House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said on Thursday that he regrets informing President Trump of surveillance affecting the president's transition team before he updated his panel.

"It's a judgement call on my part," he told reporters when asked why he spoke with Trump and the media before House Intelligence Committee Democrats.

"At the end of the day, sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you don't," Nunes added, noting he could not show the panel information that was given to him by a source.

Nunes declined to disclose his source's identity when asked if it was the White House.

Nunes regrets briefing Trump before Intelligence panel: Rep. Devin Nunes' announcement about surveillance on Wednesday sent shockwaves. © Provided by The Hill Rep. Devin Nunes' announcement about surveillance on Wednesday sent shockwaves.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN Thursday that Nunes had apologized "in a generic way" for his actions.

Nunes said Wednesday that the U.S. intelligence community incidentally collected information on members of Trump's transition team, ultimately putting it into various intelligence reports.

"Details about the U.S. persons involved in the incoming administration with little or no apparent foreign intelligence value were widely disseminated in intelligence community reports," he told reporters.

"I want to be clear - none of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team," he added, noting he believes the information was collected legally.

Nunes' remarks on Wednesday added a new wrinkle to Trump's claims earlier this month that former President Barack Obama "tapped his wires" at Trump Tower in New York City last year.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the House Intelligence Committee's ranking Democrat, voiced frustration on Wednesday over Nunes' handling of the information.

"If accurate, this information should have been shared with members of the committee, but it has not been," he said.

"The chairman also shared this information with the White House before providing it to the committee, another profound irregularity, given that the matter is currently under investigation. I have expressed my grave concerns with the chairman that a credible investigation cannot be conducted this way."

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