WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two White House officials helped provide House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes with documents showing that President Donald Trump and his associates were under surveillance by intelligence agencies. Americans, the New York Times reported Thursday.
Citing unidentified U.S. officials, the Times identified the White House officials as Ezra Cohen-Watnick, senior intelligence director for the National Security Council, and Michael Ellis, a lawyer working on national security issues in the office of the White House attorney.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer declined to comment on the details of the report during a briefing Thursday.
The New York Times reported that Cohen-Watnick began reviewing “highly classified reports” about intercepted communications from foreign officials after Trump said on Twitter earlier this month that he was “heard” by his predecessor, President Barack Obama.
The reports Cohen-Watnick reviewed consisted primarily of ambassadors and other foreign officials who spoke about how to develop contacts with the Trump family and their inner circle before the inauguration, the newspaper reported.
FBI Director James Comey told Congress that he had seen no evidence to support the wiretapping claim. Obama has denied the accusation through a spokesman.
Nunes, a former member of Trump’s transition team, has faced criticism from Democrats and some prominent Republicans for the way he handled allegations about the US spy agency’s surveillance of Trump’s team.
Many Democrats, including Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House intelligence panel, have asked Nunes to refrain from the investigation after meeting with an unidentified source last week in the White House compound, accusing him of collusion with the White House.
The House Intelligence Committee, headed by Nunes, is also investigating possible Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election in favor of Trump. Russia has denied the allegations.
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